In a blended family —a marriage with children from the spouses’ prior relationships— estate planning can be quite complicated. Bonds among members of these families do not forge traditional inheritance rights, so specific measures must be taken to convey property to them. Children from prior relationships may be in danger of losing part of their inheritances. There can also be uncertainties about who will provide long-term care in the event a family member becomes incapacitated.
If you’re part of a blended family, you can minimize such potential problems by putting together a thoughtful estate plan, including explicit provisions for distribution of your property. An estate plan allows you to dictate how you want to be medically treated near the end of your life, thereby removing the decision-making burden from loved ones. An estate plan can also help minimize or eliminate the need for a probate proceeding, which can often be a forum for families to fight over your assets.
As Connecticut estate planning lawyers, we are experienced in helping clients deal with the special considerations members of a blended family may face, such as:
Protecting assets from former spouses
How to fairly treat all children involved, including those from previous marriages
Navigating conflicts among different family members
Making sure to account for assets owned before the current marriage, placing them in trusts if appropriate
The possibility of tension between a stepparent and stepchildren when a biological parent dies
How to handle debts accumulated during prior marriages
Various estate planning tools may be employed to solve these issues. For example, you might consider creating a trust that leaves property to your current spouse and her children for her lifetime and provides that upon her death, the remainder goes to your children. This prevents your spouse from deciding not to leave anything to your kids.
For end-of-life care, you can use a Connecticut medical power of attorney, also known as appointment of health care representative, to name the person whom you want to make health-related decisions for you if you cannot make them on your own. Similarly, you can create a power of attorney that lets you name someone to be in charge of your financial affairs.
Every blended family is different and requires tailored estate planning measures. At Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. in Connecticut, we will analyze your situation to determine what options can best protect your assets and achieve your goals. Please call 203-745-0942 or contact us online to arrange a meeting with one of our experienced lawyers in Hamden or East Haven.
Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
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