More than 50% of families in the U.S. are re-coupled or remarried. This means that many adults in the country are stepparents. If this describes your family, you’ll need to make certain adjustments when it comes to estate and legacy planning to ensure that everyone will be taken care of. If you’re a California resident, here are some estate planning tips to keep in mind.
Don’t leave things up to chance
Don’t assume that your spouse will “probably” include your biological children when estate and legacy planning. If you create a will that leaves everything to your spouse, you should know that he or she may cut your children out of the will and leave the assets to their biological children or a new spouse. Your spouse has no obligation to your children unless you are both the biological parents of the children.
You may want to consider a trust that leaves lifelong assets to your spouse and passes the balance to your children when your spouse passes away. This arrangement will ensure that your spouse will have access to the money and that the funds will go to your children at some point.
Work with a qualified trustee
Choose a trustee with years of experience when it comes to estate and legacy planning. You need to know that you have someone qualified to make wise decisions about distributing or investing your assets once you’re gone.
You should also keep in mind that your spouse may remarry after your death. A trust will ensure that the assets you left behind are protected if your spouse gets married again.
Speaking with a qualified estate lawyer may help you organize the terms of your final wishes to ensure that your family is taken care of when you’re no longer around. Your lawyer may explain the different types of trusts available and help you set one up.