Expert Estate Planning Attorneys for Blended Families in Kansas
Serving Blended Families Throughout Johnson County and the Surrounding Areas
As experienced estate planning attorneys, we understand that blended families present a unique set of challenges when it comes to planning for the future. When two individuals with their own families come together, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone's interests are taken into account and that assets are protected.
One of the primary concerns for blended families is often how to provide for children from previous relationships. It is important to ensure that these children are provided for financially, while also considering the needs and wishes of any current children or stepchildren.
In addition to financial considerations, blended families must also address emotional and psychological issues. It is important to have open and honest communication about expectations and to create a plan that works for everyone involved.
Estate planning for blended families requires a sensitive and nuanced approach. Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to help you create a plan that addresses all of these unique challenges and ensures that your loved ones are taken care of in the way that you desire. If you are part of a blended family and are in need of estate planning assistance, please do not hesitate to call Ben at (913) 782-5885 for a free consultation.
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Updating Your Estate Plan
As estate planning attorneys, we understand that blended families present a unique set of challenges when it comes to planning for the future. If you already have an estate plan in place, it is important to review and update it to reflect your new circumstances. Unfortunately, there has been little attention given to the specific challenges faced by blended families in the realm of estate planning. These challenges can include disinheriting an ex-spouse and protecting your own children.
Without proper legal planning, it is possible that your ex-spouse could be appointed by the probate court to manage the inheritance you leave to your minor children. This could be a difficult and undesirable situation, especially if you have concerns about your ex-spouse's ability to manage the assets responsibly. In addition, if your children later predecease your ex-spouse and are single and childless at the time, your ex-spouse could potentially inherit your assets as the next-of-kin of your children. This is another situation that can be avoided through proper estate planning.
At Schlagel Long, we have the expertise and decades of experience to help blended families navigate these complex challenges and create an estate plan that protects their assets and provides for their loved ones. If you are part of a blended family and need assistance with estate planning, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free private consultation.
Why Is Estate Planning Important for Blended Families?
Chances are you made a few solemn promises to your new spouse on your wedding day. Among them were promises to be there through thick and thin, personally and financially. In the absence of a premarital agreement to maintain separate assets, most spouses in blended families tend to blend their wealth. For example, they title their respective assets in the names of both spouses and also designate one another as the primary beneficiary of their respective retirement plans and life insurance policies.
Warning: If you predecease your new spouse, then you may forever disinherit your own children from your share of such blended wealth! Thereafter, upon the death of your new spouse, your assets may be inherited by your stepchildren, or even by your new spouse’s next spouse and their children. Yes, things can get complicated – and fast!
How Do Blended Families Protect Inheritance?
Regardless of whether children are reared in a traditional nuclear family or in a blended family, great care should be given to protect any inheritance both for them and from them. For starters, wealth representing a lifetime of your hard work and thrift can be squandered in very short order. Dollars earned just spend differently than dollars inherited. In addition to good old-fashioned squandering, an inheritance can quickly vanish through divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies.
Fortunately, with proper (and very careful) estate planning, you can both honor your vows to your new spouse and provide an inheritance that is protected for and even from your own children.
Call the Kansas probate attorneys at Schlagel Long, LLC today at (913) 782-5885 or use our contact page to schedule a free consultation immediately.
Newly Blended Families: Key Considerations for Estate Planning
If you are part of a newly blended family, congratulations on your new union! As you start your journey together, it is important to consider the role that estate planning can play in protecting your assets and ensuring the financial security of your loved ones. Here are a few tips for newly blended families:
1. Start the conversation
Don't wait until it's too late to have important conversations about your financial goals and wishes for the future. Start talking about these issues as soon as possible to ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page.
2. Understand your assets
Make a list of your assets and how they are currently titled. This will help you understand what you have and how it will be distributed in the event of your death.
3. Create a will or trust
A will or trust can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes in the event of your death. It is important to have a clear understanding of each other's wishes and to create a document that reflects those desires.
4. Designate beneficiaries
Make sure that you have designated beneficiaries for your assets, including retirement accounts and insurance policies. This will help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
5. Consider the needs of your children
If you have children from previous relationships, it is important to consider their financial needs and how you can provide for them in the future. This may include setting up trusts or other financial instruments to ensure that their needs are met.
6. Review and update your plan regularly
Your financial situation and goals may change over time, so it is important to review and update your estate plan regularly to ensure that it continues to meet your needs and reflect your current wishes.
By following these tips, you can create a solid foundation for your newly blended family's financial future. Don't hesitate to seek the assistance of experienced estate planning attorney Benjamin Long to help you navigate these complex issues and create a plan that meets your specific needs and goals.
Unique Challenges Faced by Blended Families
1. Providing for children from previous relationships
It is important to ensure that children from previous relationships are provided for financially, while also considering the needs and wishes of any current children or stepchildren.
One of the top estate planning challenges faced by blended families is providing for children from previous relationships. When two individuals with their own families come together, it is important to ensure that all children are provided for financially, while also considering the needs and wishes of any current children or stepchildren. This can be a complex issue, as it may involve balancing the needs of different children with different relationships with the parents.
Setting up trusts or other financial instruments
There are several ways that blended families can provide for children from previous relationships in their estate plan. This may include setting up trusts or other financial instruments to ensure that the children's needs are met, or designating specific assets to be held in trust for the children until they reach a certain age. It is important to have open and honest communication with all children about your estate plan and to ensure that their needs are taken into account.
Potential legal issues
It is also important to consider any potential legal issues that may arise, such as the rights of a non-custodial parent to inherit from their child or the rights of a stepchild to inherit from a stepparent. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure that these issues are properly addressed and that your plan is tailored to your specific needs and goals.
2. Addressing differing expectations
Another common challenge faced by blended families in estate planning is addressing differing expectations. When two individuals with their own families come together, it is not uncommon for there to be differing expectations about how assets will be distributed or managed in the event of one spouse's death. For example, one spouse may have expectations about how their assets will be passed down to their children, while the other spouse may have different expectations about the distribution of their assets.
Open and honest communication
It is important to have open and honest communication about these expectations and to work together to create a plan that meets the needs and goals of both spouses. This may involve compromise and finding creative solutions that work for both parties. It is also important to consider the needs and wishes of any children from previous relationships, as well as any current children or stepchildren.
3. Disinheriting an ex-spouse
Disinheriting an ex-spouse is another challenge that blended families may face in estate planning. In some cases, an individual may wish to disinherit their ex-spouse in order to protect their assets for their current spouse and children. This can be a complex issue, as it is important to follow the laws of your state and ensure that the disinheritance is properly documented.
If you wish to disinherit your ex-spouse, it is important to consult with experienced estate planning attorney Benjamin Long to ensure that your wishes are properly documented and carried out. In most states, it is necessary to include specific language in your will or trust indicating your intention to disinherit your ex-spouse. Failing to do so could result in your ex-spouse inheriting a portion of your assets in spite of your wishes.
It is also important to consider any potential legal or financial implications of disinheriting your ex-spouse. For example, disinheriting your ex-spouse may impact their ability to receive Social Security benefits or other forms of financial support. An attorney can help you understand the potential consequences of disinheriting your ex-spouse and assist you in creating a plan that meets your specific needs and goals.
4. Protecting minor children
Protecting minor children is another common challenge faced by blended families in estate planning. If you have minor children, it is important to consider who will manage their inheritance in the event of your death. This may involve appointing a guardian or creating a trust to hold the assets until the children reach a certain age.
There are several factors to consider when protecting minor children in your estate plan.
- It is important to consider the age and maturity of the children and whether they are capable of managing their own assets.
- It may also be necessary to consider the financial stability and suitability of the guardian or trustee appointed to manage the assets on behalf of the children.
- It is also important to consider any potential legal issues that may arise, such as the rights of a non-custodial parent or step-parent to inherit from the children or to serve as their guardian.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure that these issues are properly addressed and that your plan is tailored to your specific needs and goals.
5. Coordinating with prior estate plans
Coordinating with prior estate plans is another challenge that blended families may face in estate planning. If either spouse has an existing estate plan, it is important to ensure that it is coordinated with the new plan to avoid any conflicts or unintended consequences.
There are several steps that blended families can take to coordinate their estate plans:
- Review each other's existing estate plans: Make sure that you have a clear understanding of each other's existing estate plans, including any wills, trusts, or other documents.
- Identify any conflicts or inconsistencies: Look for any conflicts or inconsistencies between the two plans, such as conflicting beneficiary designations or differing expectations about asset distribution.
- Consult with an attorney: Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to resolve any conflicts or inconsistencies and create a plan that meets the needs and goals of both spouses.
- Update your documents: Once you have a coordinated plan in place, make sure to update any relevant documents, such as wills or trusts, to reflect the new plan.
By taking these steps, blended families can ensure that their estate plans are coordinated and that their assets are protected and distributed according to their wishes.
Please note that the challenges listed above are just some of the potential issues that blended families may face when it comes to estate planning. Every family is unique, and it is important to carefully consider the specific needs and goals of your family in order to create a plan that meets your needs. It is also important to seek the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you navigate these complex issues and ensure that your plan is tailored to your specific circumstances. This disclaimer is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a qualified estate planning attorney for personalized guidance.
Free Download: Estate Planning Legacy Planner
Estate Planning Legacy Planner
Everyday, we work with people who have lost someone they care about. There is so much these folks have to organize and manage. This planner organizes the information they will most need, in our experience, saving so much time and unnecessary cost. Besides organizing your information, it's so important to have a good estate plan that will keep your family out of court and conflict.
Please use the button below to receive a free copy of our Estate Planning Legacy Planner, an organization tool essential to any estate plan designed to help your loved ones take care of you and handle your affairs.