VanNess & VanNess, P.A.
352-436-4333

Estate planning in a blended family

People in blended families in Florida should make sure that their estate plan is up to date. For example, an individual should periodically check beneficiary designations listed on retirement accounts, life insurance and any other assets that use them. Beneficiary designations override the instructions in a will, so if the beneficiary listed is a former spouse, the assets may go to them instead of to the person's current spouse.

A person might also want to consider setting up a living trust rather than using a will to pass on assets to their spouse and children. A trust can help one avoid the probate process and gives the estate holder greater control over how and when assets are distributed. However, a person might want to appoint a professional as a trustee rather than a family member. The danger of appointing a family member is that they might make investments with the assets that are in their best interests without thinking about the other beneficiaries.

Prior to a marriage that will result in a blended family, individuals might want to consider creating a prenuptial agreement. Such an agreement may help clear up confusion after a spouse's death. For example, each spouse might want to keep the assets they bring into the marriage to pass on to their children.

People may put off estate planning because they do not want to think about death. However, a solid estate plan can be a gift to surviving loved ones. Furthermore, an estate plan can deal with end-of-life care as well. A person may want to create a power of attorney to assign someone to handle their finances if they are unable to do so. They can also appoint someone to make medical decisions for them and leave instructions regarding what kind of medical care they want.

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