Planning for a second family may be an important part of your life. Having a child is a joyous time, especially if you are welcoming a child with your second marriage. Like every significant life change, having a baby should prompt you to review and update your estate plan. If you are starting a second family, it is even more imperative to meet with leading Phoenix estate planning attorney Nicole Pavlik.
Blended families pose unique estate planning concerns. If you fail to create a comprehensive estate plan, your property will likely be inherited in a way that you did not intend. Your children from your previous relationship could receive much less than you would have wanted. Additionally, there is a high chance of fighting and challenges to your estate after your death. Working with a qualified lawyer ensures you will have a comprehensive estate plan that fits your entire family’s needs.
Below are estate planning tips for individuals with a child from a second marriage.
- Update Your Will and Trust
Parents of a traditional, nuclear family typically leave their inheritance to their surviving spouse with the knowledge that it will all eventually flow down to the children they share with their spouse. When you get remarried and start a second family, drafting your will or trust becomes more complicated because you must balance the interests of your new spouse, children from outside the marriage, and their new half-sibling. Complications can arise if you do not specifically name your new child in your will or trust.
An experienced estate planning lawyer can work with you to create creative solutions to ensure all your family members are provided for. Every family situation is unique, so it is essential to have a plan that works for your specific family.
- Decide on a Guardian
When you have a minor child, it is important to name a guardian in your will. If both parents die before the child reaches 18, the guardian will step in to care for the child and assume parental responsibilities. They are responsible for feeding, clothing, housing, and educating your child. Often, the guardian also acts as the conservator of the child. A conservator is the individual responsible for managing the child’s financial affairs. If you do not name a guardian, the court will choose who will care for your child.
- Review and Update Life Insurance
You should add your child to your life insurance policy. Including them as a beneficiary of your policy will ensure they will be financially taken care of when you pass away. You should also consider whether you will need to increase the value of your policy or make other changes to your policy.
- Update Beneficiary Designations
Having a child is a good time to review your beneficiary designations. Accounts with beneficiary designations pass outside of probate and are not governed by your will. No matter what your will or trust states, the financial institution will distribute the funds to the listed beneficiary. You must confirm that your ex-spouse is not listed and the designations are up-to-date with your current wishes.
- Create or Update a Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract made between two spouses that sets forth each party’s responsibilities during marriage and in the event of a divorce. It is the same as a prenuptial agreement (“prenup”) except for the fact that is created after, not before, the marriage. In the agreement, you can identify each spouse’s separate property and include provisions related to spousal support and the distribution of property at death. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, now is a good time to review it and ensure that your wishes have not changed. If you do not have a post/prenup, you should consider adding one to your estate plan.
How Do You Avoid Family Conflict When Estate Planning for a Second Family?
It is common for there to be tension and fighting over inheritance in blended families. The best way to prevent your family from fighting over your estate is to create a clear, comprehensive estate plan. The plan should plainly state your intentions. You should also consider communicating your wishes to your family members before your death. Part of estate planning is to provide financially for your minor children. Reasonable adult children will understand the primary importance of this.
Your Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
Nicole Pavlik is an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney who will help you create a comprehensive estate plan. The goal is to protect your children and plan for the future.
If you have questions about estate planning for a second family, call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at (602) 635-6176 for a free consultation.