How to avoid estate planning mistakes with a blended family

On Behalf of | Aug 13, 2021 | Uncategorized

Creating an estate plan allows you to leave your assets and property to your Illinois beneficiaries in the event of your death. However, if you are married for the second or third time and have a blended family, it can make things tricky. It’s important to avoid making certain mistakes while planning your estate in this situation.

Change your beneficiaries

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning your estate with a blended family is not changing beneficiaries. Often, you can have your first spouse still listed as your beneficiary, which leaves your current spouse in the dark. Change beneficiaries as soon as possible to avoid problems.

You may also want to add stepchildren as beneficiaries when you update your estate plan. This is especially important if you have adopted your new spouse’s children.

Change your will

During the estate planning process, you should change your will to ensure that your assets go to your current spouse and your children. You may even want to have a contract made that states your surviving spouse maintains your will if you pass away before they do.

Don’t necessarily treat all heirs equally

Although it might sound unfair, you don’t have to treat all your heirs equally. If you have more than one child and you wish to leave a bigger share of your assets to them, you can do that. For example, if one of your children is disabled and you worry about their future when you’re gone, you can leave them a bigger share to ensure that they’re cared for throughout their life.

Don’t wait until you’re gone to give

Many people make the mistake of leaving money to their children after they pass away. You don’t have to wait until then as you can give up to $15,000 per person per year and bypass the federal gift tax. Sometimes, people are in need of money sooner for a variety of reasons. You may want to consider this option if that’s the case with your children.