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Blended families need special attention in estate planning

Some Delaware residents are fortunate enough to find love more than once in their lifetimes. When remarrying and bringing together two families, special attention will need to be paid to estate planning. Taking certain steps can ensure that everyone receives the inheritance that he or she was intended to receive.

First, many people are not aware that prenuptial agreements can be an invaluable estate-planning tool. Separate assets earmarked for children from a prior relationship can be identified in a prenup as well. It would be beneficial to outline estate-planning arrangements in the agreement as well to ensure that there is no confusion regarding each individual's intentions.

Another option is to create a revocable living trust. When an individual puts assets into the trust, those assets will not have to go through probate. Furthermore, the trust's creator (referred to as the grantor) can specify how and when distributions are made to beneficiaries, along with how much is distributed to each beneficiary when distributions are made. It is also crucial that any accounts -- such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts -- requiring beneficiary designations be reviewed to ensure that they reflect the beneficiaries an individual desires.

Even though newly blended families might still be adjusting to their new lives together, estate planning should not be put off any longer than necessary. Due to the potential complexities involved, it would be a good idea to sit down with a Delaware estate planning attorney who can help devise a plan that will accomplish a couple's goals. Once each person's plan is complete, the whole family can breathe a sigh of relief.

Source: westseattleherald.com, "Estate planning tips for blended families", Edward Jones, Dec. 8, 2016

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