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Daytona Beach Lawyers > Blog > Estate Planning > Estate Planning For Blended Families

Estate Planning For Blended Families


In today’s modern society, blended families are extremely common. While blended families are a blessing, they can also present certain challenges when estate planning. Stepchildren, former spouses, and new marital property all require careful consideration to make sure that a person’s estate plan reflects the person’s wishes and those of the entire family to maintain harmony within the household. Below, our Daytona Beach estate planning lawyer outlines some tips to keep in mind that can help you overcome the challenges these cases sometimes present.

Communicate Openly 

Before beginning any legal paperwork,  it is important to have open conversations with your family about your intentions. This can help you deal with any misunderstandings that may arise, particularly between biological children and stepchildren, which are quite common during probate in blended families.

Be Specific About Your Wishes 

Specificity is important in every estate plan, but it is even more critical when you are part of a blended family. Vague language in your will such as, “I want to leave my property to my children,” is open to interpretation. Instead, state explicitly who you would like to receive specific property after you pass away. This can also help avoid future disputes.

Consider Trusts 

You can create many different types of trusts that can help protect everyone in your blended family. For example, a Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust can allow you to make sure your spouse is provided for throughout their lifetime. After they pass away, the remainder of your estate will then be passed to your children. A Lifetime Beneficiary Trust can also protect your children’s inheritance from divorce, creditors, and other possible issues.

Regularly Update Beneficiaries 

Retirement accounts, insurance policies, and other types of property usually transfer directly to beneficiaries named on the account. It is critical to review and update these designations regularly particularly after a major life event, such as the birth of a child or a divorce.

Do Not Include No-Contest Clauses 

Many people believe that a no-contest clause will discourage displeased heirs from contesting their will or trust. The courts in Florida, though, do not enforce no-contest clauses. If you include any language that is not recognized under Florida law, it could deem that portion of your estate plan void. It could also impact other parts of the estate plan that you wanted upheld.

Appoint Third Parties as Trustees 

Conflicts can arise when you name a subjective party, such as a biological child or stepchild, as your trustee. Instead, consider appointing an objective third party, such as a financial institution, as your trustee to prevent any future disputes.

Contact Our Estate Planning Lawyer in Daytona Beach Today 

While everyone should have an estate plan in place, blended families present more challenges than traditional family structures. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our Daytona Beach estate planning lawyer can help you overcome these challenges so your final wishes are respected. Call us now at 386-252-5170 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to get the legal help your family needs.



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