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How to make an estate plan for a blended family

It is no longer unusual for families in Missouri to include stepparents and stepchildren as more people look to get married again after a previous divorce or death of a spouse. While the new beginnings associated with a remarriage can be positive in many ways, they do also represent special concerns that make estate planning different for couples in a blended family than for those in a traditional nuclear family.

As Forbes explains, in a family where each spouse has their own children, there may be a natural urge to ensure that each person's biological children and even grandchildren ultimately obtain ownership of select assets after the spouses die. These assets may be important from a financial perspective or from a sentimental perspective. Either way, if these wishes are not properly documented in writing, there is no way to guarantee that they will actually be followed.

An estate plan that is too simple may also cause problems as couples are likely to co-mingle some assets. This means that simply stating each person's premarital assets should go to their own children may not end up covering all assets appropriately. Special trusts may allow spouses to provide for each other after death while preserving some assets for their children after the surviving spouse eventually passes away.

If you would like to learn more about the special issues facing blended families when making an estate plan, please feel free to visit the remarriage and asset protection page of our Missouri estate planning website.

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