Is estate planning different for a blended family?

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Is Estate Planning Different For A Blended Family

No longer is it uncommon for a person to get married more than one time in their life. A remarriage may happen after the death of a first spouse or after a first marriage ends via divorce or an annulment. Regardless of how a previously married person finds themselves single again, they deserve the opportunity to move forward positively and create a life with a new spouse.

While embracing the joys and opportunities that come with a second marriage, people should also realize that these families may require a different approach to estate planning. Forbes explains that the inherent difference in a blended family where one or both spouses brings children into the marriage makes estate planning unique and requires the right tools to be created.

A simple will generally does not suffice for a blended family. Instead, people should look for trusts that allow them to direct assets to multiple parties rather than funneling everything to their surviving spouse and hoping something eventually flows to their biological children. Open and honest conversations should be had between the spouses about their wishes and any responsibilities they have to a former spouse or to their children per the mandates of a divorce decree. For example, a person might be required to keep their ex-spouse named as the beneficiary on a retirement account.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give spouses in remarried families some things to consider when approaching their estate plans, so they understand the importance of this for themselves and their children.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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