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How Stepfamilies Can Impact Estate Plans

These days, step-relatives are more common than ever before. In fact, a 2011 study from the Pew Research Center indicates that at least one out of every five Americans now have a step-relative, and the U.S. Census Bureau states that there are now more blended families than traditional nuclear families. For these people and their families, there are often many more complications that arise during the estate planning process.

Striking a Balance

The largest and most obvious challenge when estate planning for a blended family is determining who gets what. Most people wish to take care of their biological children from a previous relationship, but also want to make sure that their current spouse and step-children are cared for. Without a clear estate plan, these situations can get notoriously contentious after your death, as children and step-children battle over your estate in court.

These situations are highly delicate, as it’s common for family members to feel slighted or less loved if they are to receive a smaller share of the estate. For this reason, many people put off their estate planning until it’s too late, which ends up causing more family drama in the long run.

Your Ex Can Inherit Everything

One of the most important reasons to have a comprehensive estate plan is to disinherit your ex. Of course, this only applies if you truly do not wish to leave them anything. Unless you specifically remove your ex as the beneficiary of your estate plan, they could potentially inherit much of your property after your death – even if you have a will which states otherwise. Furthermore, failure to disinherit your ex could potentially lead to them getting executorship of your estate, allowing them to manage the money you leave for your kids and step-kids.

It’s Never Too Early to Begin Estate Planning

Regardless of your net worth or your position in life, you can protect your rights and wishes through a comprehensive estate plan. At the Law Offices of Dan Chern, P.C., our experienced Plano estate planning attorney can skillfully guide you through the process when you hire our firm.

Don’t wait to start building your estate plan. Call (972) 200-3078 today!

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