An ever greater number of people live in blended and otherwise non-traditional families. The Pew Research Center reports that 54 percent of kids nationwide live in non-traditional families—with a significant percentage of them living in a blended family. While estate planning is important for all parents, it is especially crucial for blended families.
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our law firm is dedicated to helping people and families put the proper structure in place to provide the maximum level of legal and financial procession. We want to make sure that you have the information you need to navigate the estate planning process. In this article, our San Antonio estate planning lawyers highlight six tips for blended families in Texas.
Six Actionable Estate Planning Tips For Blended Families In Texas
- Do Not Rely on the Texas Intestacy Laws
The Texas intestacy laws are essentially the default regulations that will determine what happens if you do not put any estate planning documents in place. For example, if a person passes away without drafting a will or setting up a trust, their assets will be controlled by the intestacy laws. As a person in a blended family, you cannot rely on the Texas intestacy laws to do what is best for you and your loved ones. The simple reality is that these laws are not designed to meet the needs of blended families.
- Communicate: Open Discussion is Important
Blended families face some unique challenges in the estate planning process. It is critical that you and your family are able to have honest and open discussions about estate planning. In some cases, these discussions are relatively easy. Everyone might see eye-to-eye on key issues. Of course, that is not always the case. You and your spouse (or other family members) might not start off on the same page. By being able to talk about your issues, you are in a far better position to come to a workable understanding.
- Create a Plan for Property and Assets
One of the key considerations for blended families is determining exactly what will happen to property/assets. In most cases, this starts with writing a will. Every adult in Texas, blended family or not, should have a comprehensive will in place.
Depending on your financial situation, your family may also benefit from setting up a trust. There are several different types of trusts and they can be crafted to meet certain goals. If you are considering using a trust as part of your estate plan, our San Antonio attorneys can help.
Finally, you should also ensure that your beneficiary designations are completed and updated. Through a beneficiary designation, you can pass some assets (retirement accounts, investment accounts, etc) directly to your heirs without going through the full probate process.
- Always Pay Attention to the Needs of Your Children
Children should always be considered when making an estate plan. For blended families, this can be a little bit more complicated. If you have step-children who you have not legally adopted, you may want to make special considerations to prepare for their health and well-being as part of your estate plan. An experienced San Antonio estate planning attorney can help.
- Remember to Plan for Health
One of the most common estate planning mistakes that people make is forgetting to make preparations for incapacity and/or other health needs. Your estate plan should provide protection in case you lose the ability to make your own financial, legal, or medical decisions. Among other things, you should consider setting up:
- Powers of attorney;
- Health care powers of attorney; and
- A living will.
- Make Sure Your Estate Planning Documents are Updated
Finally, it is imperative that you make sure that your estate planning documents are fully updated to meet your current needs. If you are recently remarried or if new children recently entered your home, your previous estate plan may be out of date. An outdated estate plan is unlikely to achieve your goals. It can cause serious stress, hassle, and frustration for your family members. Make sure that you regularly review your estate plan and update it as necessary.
Call Our San Antonio, TX Estate Planning Lawyers For Immediate Help
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our Texas estate planning attorneys possess the knowledge and legal experience to help all types of families find peace and security. If you have any questions or concerns about estate planning for blended families in Texas, we are more than happy to help. Give us a call now or contact us online to set up your fully private confidential initial legal appointment. With an office in Selma, we serve communities all around the region, including in Bexar County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, and Atascosa County.