Divorce and remarriage are part of life for many people. In fact, a recent report reveals four out of 10 Americans identify as being part of a “blended family.” Whether you, your spouse, or both have brought children from a previous marriage into a new union, it is important to consider how your family situation affects your estate plan.

What Is Your Blended Family Like?

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is: What is the tone of my blended family? Some blended families are extremely close; others experience some of the numerous conflicts that can arise when people must deal with ex-spouses and step siblings. Any time two separate families come together, there can be any number of outcomes.

Knowing the overall tone of your blended family can help you determine how much planning you need to do. For example, if your adult children and your second wife can’t be in the same room together without difficulty, your estate plan should take this into consideration. On the other hand, if you raised your stepchild from infancy and he or she considers you a primary parent, your estate plan will likely require a different approach.

A few other considerations include:

· Prenuptial agreement. Consider entering into a prenuptial agreement with a second (or beyond) spouse. Clarifying each person’s expectations and responsibilities early on can go a long way toward preventing misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and expensive conflicts down the road.

· Incapacity planning. If you become disabled in the future, will your current spouse make assets and support available to your children from a previous relationship? This is just one of many reasons your estate documents should include comprehensive incapacity planning.

· Inheritance. If you die without a will, your spouse will inherit your probate assets. Can you count on your spouse to make sure your children from a previous marriage receive the property you would want them to have? You can avoid an undesirable outcome by creating a thorough estate plan that provides for your children and your spouse.

Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm

If you are one of the 40 percent of people in the U.S. with a blended family, you should take steps to protect it.

Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today at (651) 968-1457 to learn more and to discuss your case.

This website has been prepared by Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.