How a second marriage affects estate planning
Decisions regarding wills, living trusts, and power of attorney critical when forming a blended family
How is my estate impacted by a second marriage?
In this day and age, it is not at all unusual for a spouse, children, and grandchildren from a second or even third marriage to form a so-called blended family. But these additions to the family can complicate estate-planning options. Keeping that in mind, the following tools may be useful for blended families:
Will. Your will is the centerpiece of your estate plan and should be coordinated with other devices such as trusts. It can be amended through a codicil for minor changes or be completely rewritten to reflect major changes. For example, you might rework a will to include your spouse and your children from a second marriage or even the spouse’s children from a prior marriage.
Living trust. Often viewed as a supplement to a will, a living trust enables you to maintain control over the disposition of assets. Typically, the trust is revocable, so you still have the ability to change the beneficiaries or allocations, or otherwise amend it during your lifetime. Because assets contained in a living trust avoid probate, this can be valuable to someone who wants to avoid public scrutiny.