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Important considerations for wills in blended families

There are several things parties must do when blending a family. Planning for the future is one.

If you have a blended family, you should consider updating or creating a proper estate plan. In preparation, consider a few important items.

Designated beneficiaries

After any life change, especially divorce, it is important to double check that you designate the right parties to receive your assets through the probate process. In considering your new family, you may need to add some parties and remove others. Along with the will, you should also check and modify your designations on other policies, such as your retirement plan or insurance policy. It may also be helpful to discuss your new designations with your spouse, to ensure you are on the same page. Otherwise, your spouse may disagree and exercise the right of election, allowing him or her to take up to one-third of your estate, regardless of your will.

Power of attorney

In many cases, parties designate their spouses as their power of attorney, or a trusted mutual friend of the couple. Should that be the case in your situation and you desire to change that designation, you need to modify it in your will. You may also choose to spread your designations amongst different parties, or consolidate all power into one party.

Particular assets

If you come into your blended family with children of your own, you may have specific assets, family heirlooms or other items you desire to leave for them. On the other hand, you may desire to split certain assets between all your children. Taking the time to make these modifications in your will now can help avoid confusion and conflict later.

There are no two families that are exactly alike, and as such, you may have additional concerns to plan for. Take some time to evaluate the various aspects of an estate plan that would be beneficial to your situation.

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