Second Marriages and Blended Families

Arizona Estate Planning for Second Marriages

With more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, estate planning for second marriages and blended families has become an increasingly important issue. This type of planning can be difficult for couples because not only must they determine how to transfer their property to children they have together, but they must also determine how to divide marital property between their children from previous marriages. A big part of this type of planning is taking care not to offend their separate children, or make them feel like they are of secondary importance to a new spouse or their half-siblings. Fortunately, there are a variety of legal tools available to help parents in blended families make suitable arrangements.

At the very least, parents in blended families ought to include in their estate plan a will that specifically addresses children from previous marriages. But, more often than not, this basic planning is insufficient to cover everything that the couple hopes to accomplish. One way couples can exercise more control is by creating a revocable living trust that divides the trust property between each of their children from any marriage after the death of the second spouse. A trustee can be appointed to prevent the surviving spouse from giving the majority of trust assets to his or her children while still alive. Life insurance and beneficiary designations can also be used as planning tools to help blended families properly divide marital property. When making these plans, it is important to consider factors such as the age of the children, and how long the spouses have been married to one another. Retaining an Arizona estate planning attorney can be a great asset for helping parents in blended families make reasonable and informed decisions.

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