When you consider all the myriad details involved, estate planning can be rather complex and challenging. Depending on the size and scope of your assets and exactly what form they are in any number of financial instruments may be necessary to optimize your assets and prevent erosion. This is true even for people who married their childhood sweetheart and never divorced, but when you have a blended family the matter can become even more challenging from a legal perspective.
You can sometimes tend to proceed from the standpoint that a “family” is always going to be a father, mother, and their children, but the statistics tell a totally different tale. The United States Census Bureau estimates that at the present time the majority of families are blended, meaning that divorces have taken place and stepchildren are involved. The statistics on the subject vary but it is safe to say that anywhere from 40% to somewhere in the vicinity of 50% of marriages end in divorce, and in the majority of cases children are involved and blended families are the result.
When you first get married and have children it is highly recommended that you visit with an estate planning attorney and get an initial estate plan into place. If you have done the responsible thing and taken care of this, you are going to have retirement accounts and insurance policies showing beneficiaries that you’re probably going to want to change after you get divorced.
So reevaluating your estate plan upon divorces is a must, but then when and if you get remarried you have a whole new set of legal circumstances to consider. You want to make sure that your own children are taken care of while addressing the needs of your new expanded family, and your spouse-to-be will have input as well.
Clearly, all this can be quite complicated and the best way to proceed is going to be something that the layperson would have no way of fully understanding. The only logical course of action is to consult with an estate planning attorney who has a background working with blended families so that you can adjust things appropriately and provide for all of your loved ones as you see fit.
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