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Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families

Creating a blended family with your second marriage can be an exciting fresh start for both you and your new spouse as parents as well as for your children.  This can be a very fulfilling time in your life but it can present special challenges, especially when it comes to planning your estate.

With a second marriage, your adult children may become concerned about their inheritance when you remarry.  Relying on your children and new spouse to sort things out on their own is not advisable.  Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone; there are resources available to help you create the plan you want.  By updating your estate plan, your children’s concerns related to your second marriage can be minimized. 

Providing for everyone you care for can be complicated.  You will need an estate plan that is specific to you and your unique situation.  Without an estate plan, there’s no guarantee that what you want to happen, will actually happen.  It is a good idea to discuss your options with a Pittsburgh estate planning attorney to ensure the complexities of your specific situation are properly taken into consideration.

In preparation for a conversation about estate planning with your blended family, consider the following:

  • Do you want to leave your entire estate to your biological children while your new spouse does the same?  Or, do you and your spouse want to leave your assets to each other?  There is also the option for step-parents to include their non-biological children in the estate plan.  Consider combinations of all of the above scenarios as well.
  • Keep in mind that, although it seems unlikely now, your new spouse could potentially disinherit your children.  To avoid problems arising, clearly outline your beneficiaries and the specifics of their inheritance in your will.
  • The monetary or sentimental value of some of your possessions may not be obvious to you.   Enlist the help of a trusted estate planning attorney to help you identify and designate the distribution of these assets in your will.
  • Should the situation arise that you are incapable of overseeing your own finances, eliminate concerns about what your spouse, children or step-children might do.  Your estate planning lawyer will help you to prepare the required legal documentation (including a power of attorney and a living trust) before they become necessary.
  • Review your insurance policies and retirement accounts to ensure they are up to date.  You might need to remove a previous spouse or modify your beneficiaries.

The most important part of making any of these decisions is to ensure they reflect your wishes.  Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make certain they are applicable to Pennsylvania laws.

Proper estate planning for your blended family can relieve your children’s concerns when you remarry.  Knowing that you are protecting their financial legacy will bring you peace of mind.

To discuss your specific needs with one of our estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.


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