How do blended families handle estate planning in Pennsylvania?

woman and man holding children

Estate planning can be incredibly complex if you aren’t sure where to start. However, if you have a blended family, this process can be even more confusing, as you must make several additional considerations to help protect your estate and beneficiaries. As such, it’s essential to take the necessary time to prepare your estate to ensure your wishes are met upon your passing. The following blog explores what blended families should know about how Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys can help them achieve peace of mind for the future of their finances and family.

What constitutes a blended family, and why is estate planning crucial?

A blended family generally refers to a couple with children from a previous relationship. As such, these familial units can contain step-siblings, half-siblings, and non-immediate family members who reside in the same home. In many instances, the non-biological will adopt the children of their new spouse, but this is not always the case, as both biological parents must consent to this, with the exception of death.

Some complexities of these dynamics include conflicting family values, issues regarding raising their children, and children adjusting to new roles within their families. As such, estate planning can be challenging, as you may need to change how you plan your estate. Where you previously may have left your estate to your children, you now have to consider your biological children and your spouse’s children to prevent unfair treatment.

What estate planning options work best for blended families?

Because these relationships can often be complex, it’s essential to understand the different estate planning choices that can benefit these dynamics. One of the most beneficial tools when planning for the future is a trust. While most people leave their estate to their spouse in their will, this can cause issues for your children, especially if your spouse did not adopt your children. Establishing a trust and ensuring you name your children as beneficiaries, as well as your spouse, can help ensure everyone is cared for following your passing.

Additionally, you should consider establishing a medical power of attorney. This is an entity of your choosing that will make decisions about the care you receive in the event you become incapacitated or unable to do so yourself. Unfortunately, this can be a tense issue for blended families, so it’s in your best interest to choose someone who you feel confident understands your wishes and is willing to act as a strong advocate for you.

Is there anything else I should consider before estate planning?

If you are part of a blended family or about to create one, it’s necessary to understand the steps you must take to ensure each member of your family is cared for. In the event you have not already gotten married, it’s important to consider signing a prenuptial agreement, as this is a great way to ensure you and your spouse are financially transparent and know what to expect in the event you divorce.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure you reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney with Friedman Schuman. Estate planning is an incredibly complex process on its own, but a blended family means there’s even more to consider. That’s why our team is dedicated to helping you explore your options to make the best decision for your family. Reach out to our office today to learn more.

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