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Yours, Mine, and Ours: Estate Planning for Today's Blended Family

In a “traditional” estate plan, each spouse provides for his or her assets (or most of the assets) to pass to the surviving spouse, with the understanding that those assets will go to their children at the surviving spouse’s death. This planning approach may work well when the spouses have only been married once — to each other — and the only children involved are the ones they have together.

But it can spell disaster if your family is one of the many today that does not fit this traditional definition. For couples with children from prior marriages, a better approach is to sort out what is “yours, mine, and ours” and plan accordingly so neither your spouse nor your children are unintentionally disinherited. Think carefully and objectively about potential conflicts, future needs, and human nature. The following strategies may help in your planning:

  • Update Wills
  • Premarital Agreements
  • Proper Titling of any property you and your spouse acquire during marriage
  • Update Beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, annuities, employer-sponsored retirement plan benefits, and IRAs
  • QTIP Trusts
  • A Two-Part Estate Plan
  • Life Insurance Trusts
  • Lifetime Gifts
  • Strategies to Transfer a Business Interest

Everyone’s situation is different. The strategies listed here may or may not fit your situation. Even the smallest of mistakes can undo your estate planning efforts and jeopardize your family’s future financial security. Contact us if you need help.