Blended families are very common in our world. With roughly half of all marriages ending in divorce, it’s fairly normal to see all sorts of different family dynamics. With all the changes that happen when families blend together, it’s easy to forget the changes that may happen to someone’s estate plan. At Thornton Law Firm, we are well-versed in creating estate plans for blended families in the Durham and Raleigh areas and would love to help your family with a will.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about estate plans for blended families:

  1. The estate usually passes to the surviving spouse: Once a person passes, the estate is usually turned over to the remaining spouse, which gives them control over the estate. While we hope the spouse carries on the deceased’s wishes, it’s best to clearly divide assets to provide for children from previous relationships aside from the spouse’s inheritance.
  2. Previous agreements need updating: It’s easy to forget what one did when one first married. Sometimes there are life insurance accounts or retirement benefits from long ago that are still set for a previous spouse. Make sure everything is updated to avoid issues upon death.
  3. Medical considerations: As families split and blend (possibly multiple times), who one chooses to make healthcare decisions might have changed. This is especially important to keep updated with someone you trust.
  4. Communication is key: We’ll say this again and again: open communication, both verbal and written is key in estate planning. Everyone involved needs to know the plan and there has to be a clearly-stated document with all the details of the will.

Now more than ever, we see that life can throw curveballs at us at any moment. Making sure estate plans are in place is one of the few things we can do to make sure we’re prepared for uncertainty. Contact us to set up a consultation for an estate plan for your family.