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Blended family estate planning strategies

In cases where one or more spouse has children from a prior marriage, estate planning can get more complicated. It does not matter how well a family gets along now, there could be conflicts after a death when it comes to inheritances. For this reason, New York estate planners have to try and divide their assets among heirs in a way that minimizes the potential for family conflict and protects one's heirs from estate tax liabilities.

Generally, individuals who pass away without a will or estate plan will have their assets divided among their current spouse and adopted and biological children. If you brought individual property into your marriage, that property could prove problematic in terms of inheritance, so this needs to be dealt with ahead of time as well.

There are some other issues blended family estate plans need to consider. For example, do you want some children to receive more of your estate than others? Do you want to leave the majority of your estate to your children as opposed to your current spouse or the other way around? Do you want to leave a specific inheritance to your stepchildren? Do you want to leave more or less money to the children of your current spouse as opposed to the children of your previous spouse?

These and other issues all should be addressed in a New York estate plan for blended families. Fortunately, no matter what your situation happens to be, a suitable estate planning strategy can be devised. The most important thing is to take care of your blended family estate plan now before it is too late.

Source: The Spectrum, "Estate planning for blended families more complex," Scott Halvorsen, July 03, 2015

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