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Wills, trusts and remarriages

Blended families can benefit greatly by creating comprehensive estate plans to balance the needs of the spouses and their children.

In today's society, most people in Florida know someone who has gotten divorced and then married again. Many remarriages may also entail a spouse who was previously widowed. The new families that are formed commonly have children from at least one if not both spouses.

While blended families are no longer unusual and they can be very happy and emotionally strong, they can pose unique challenges when one of the spouses dies. For this reason, a good estate plan is a must.

How can I provide for my spouse and my children?

As Forbes explains, it is common for people to want to make sure that if they die first their surviving spouse has enough income on which to life the rest of their life. That same person may also logically want to ensure that their children receive an inheritance.

If no estate plan is in place, the spouse may inherit everything. Even with a plan that gives everything to the spouse with the intention that it eventually goes to the children is not foolproof because the spouse is not required to give anything to the kids.

What type of documents help me protect everyone?

According to Fidelity Investments, there are some types of trusts that may be well-suited to the needs of people in blended families. Qualified terminable interest property trusts and credit shelter trusts both offer means of a surviving spouse receiving income while preserving assets for other beneficiaries such as children or even grandchildren.

An irrevocable life insurance trust may also be useful and people should be aware that they may establish more than one trust depending on their needs. Even with a trust, a will may be helpful for assets that are not titled.

How detailed do I need to be with my estate plan?

The more detail a person can provide in their estate plan, the less chance there is of a family dispute later on. Identifying who should get things like jewelry, household items or family heirlooms is important and may be a good use of a will.

How can I determine which estate planning tools are right for us?

People in Florida who want to prepare a solid estate plan for their blended family should always consult an attorney. This will provide them access to someone who understands the various tools available and identify which ones are most appropriate for the given situation and family needs.

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