If you are one of the many people in California who is looking to get married for the second, third or subsequent time, you should pay special attention to your future estate plans and the time to do this is ideally before you walk down the aisle not after. That said, it is also important to review these plans on a regular basis as life hands many changes that may necessitate adjustments to your plans.
What makes estate planning for blended families so essential? Fidelity Investments explains that when extended family members from different bloodlines are put together and faced with asset division, emotions can become unpleaseant. It is always best for you and your spouse to be clear about your wishes from the get go to avoid any surprises after one or both of you dies. At a minimum, you and your new spouse likely have special family heirlooms that your children or even grandchildren may hope to receive someday. A will or trust can help make sure these things stay in your original family.
Beyond that, however, you will want to review your plans for long-term care for each other. One spouse usually dies first and if you want your partner to be financially cared for after that, your plan must be set up accordingly. After that person dies, however, if no plan is in place, everything may go to that person's blood relatives leaving nothing for yours unless you have a clear written estate plan.
If you would like to learn more about the potential issues involved in estate planning for blended families and the importance of documenting things and reviewing them regularly, please feel free to visit the blended family financial plans page of our California estate planning website.