The Estate Planning Law Firm of William O. Boyd, P.A. provides estate planning for blended families. Clients with blended families will want to do the right thing for everyone involved: themselves, their spouse, their children, and their spouse's children. Our planning process will help them take the time to consider this from everyone's point of view.
More than likely, estate planning methods will need to consider that each spouse probably has assets they brought into the marriage, and they may want those to go to their own children after they die. At the same time, they will probably want to make sure the surviving spouse will have enough to live on.
Other Considerations include:
If each has considerable assets, it may be wise keep the assets and estate planning separate. If there will be a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, it should be reviewed by an estate planning attorney (before signing).
If one spouse has considerably fewer assets than the other, it is possible to provide for this spouse until death or remarriage, then have the remaining assets distributed to the children of the 'wealthier' spouse. This is often accomplished through a life estate or QTIP trust.
If the new spouse is much younger, the children of the older spouse may be concerned that the new spouse is only after the money. These feelings may subside as the marriage lengthens. But if the younger spouse is closer in age to the children, they may be wondering if they will ever receive their inheritance. Consider distributing some of their inheritance upon their parent's death, then the rest at the surviving spouse's death or remarriage.
Naming a trust as beneficiary for life insurance policies and tax-deferred plans is often a good choice for second marriages. This will allow the owner-spouse to keep control over how and to whom the proceeds are distributed. The surviving spouse can receive lifetime income, yet the owner-spouse can keep control (through the trust) over the rest of the proceeds. Keeping the proceeds in a trust will also protect them from irresponsible spending, creditors, predators, divorce, remarriage and even estate taxes, if done properly.