When a married couple decides to create or update their estate plan, the process generally opens the door to many sometimes challenges questions or issues. For a remarried couple, these issues may be particularly challenging as each spouse often has to balance their wishes for their own biological children, the children of their spouse and their spouse.
As recommended by Forbes, spouses in blended families should look beyond a simple will to effectively manage and address their estate planning needs. Some types of trusts may provide the flexibility that a couple with children from prior marriages needs for their future asset and estate distribution wishes. A trust may allow one spouse to allocate specific assets to the surviving spouse while retaining others for the deceased spouse’s children, for example.
The selection of a trustee for a blended family can be one of the most important choices in the estate planning process. The trustee should be independent and neutral to avoid being emotionally caught in any conflicts that may arise. They should also be close enough to the person creating the estate plan to appropriately understand their wishes and be able to execute those.
CNBC adds that remarried couples cannot expect even the most robust trust to be able to accommodate their full estate planning issues. Allocation of funds from many assets, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts, happen based on the beneficiary designation for that account. Divorced and remarried persons may be required per a prior divorce decree to keep a former spouse listed as the beneficiary and this should be taken into consideration when making an estate plan with a new spouse.