Creating a blended family can be complicated. When two families join by remarriage, there are many issues that arise ranging from "Who gets who for what holidays?" to What is my role with your children as a step parent?"  For many of the same reasons (as well as some additional ones) estate planning for  blended families can also be complicated.

For instance whose child gets what and what do future children get can be difficult questions. In the Wall Street Journal article called The Right Steps by Michaela Cavallaro, he examines some tools and other steps the parents of blended families can use to make their estate planning less complicated and less stressful on you and your surviving heirs.

The single best tool any blended family can use is communication. How much or how little financial information you disclose is up to you.  However, the parents of blended families should consider discussing their estate plans with one another, their children, and financial advisor so everyone understands and can ultimately cooperate to the greatest extent possible.  It is also important to review your estate plan periodically or when there is a life change such as divorce, marriage, and death. An estate plan that is outdated may not accurately represent your wishes today or may even still name ex-spouces to inherit your estate.

It is also essential, but particularly so for those in blended families to review all beneficiary designations with your lawyer, and financial advisor to ensure that they match and are coordinated with the estate planning documents.

David M. Frees III, Esquire
David M. Frees, III
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