With the rise of divorce and remarriage in our society, blended families are more common than ever. Television shows like The Brady Bunch and Modern Family give a light-hearted look at blended families. But, in real life, blended families face unique estate planning challenges.
Lack of Planning Leads to Accidental Disinheritance
When people join together in matrimony, they usually title their property jointly also. They often name each other beneficiaries on financial accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. Both of these strategies, while common and often recommended, can lead to children from previous marriages being accidentally disinherited.
Keep in mind that a surviving spouse who receives 100% of the assets of the deceased spouse is under no obligation to share the assets with the decedent’s children. Those children, then, completely lose the inheritance their parents may have wanted them to receive.
And what if the surviving spouse remarries? The new spouse may become entitled to the assets of the deceased spouse. Again, children from the deceased spouse receive nothing.
Careful estate planning can prevent accidental disinheritance.
When the Ex-Spouse Enters the Picture
The situation becomes more complex when a blended family contains minor children.
Let’s say a husband passes away, leaving two children. As minors, they need a conservator to manage their inheritance. The court-appointed conservator could very well be someone you did not choose. Your ex-spouse, as their surviving parent, is the most likely candidate! And if the children pass away? The person inheriting their estates likely would be your ex-spouse.
Estate planning can protect everything you have for everyone you love.
Fortunately, none of these scenarios has to happen. With proper estate planning, you can avoid unintended consequences while protecting your loved ones. At Adams & Miller, P.C., we make it our business to help clients like you make thoughtful, informed decisions about their estate planning.
To learn more, attend one of our FREE estate planning workshops. Please call (256) 237-3339 to register for a workshop or to schedule an initial consultation. You may also request an appointment through our website.
We have offices in Anniston and Birmingham, but also serve clients in Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.