If you live in Pennsylvania and you are a parent in a blended family, your estate planning may have an extra layer of complexity. It is important to ensure that you make plans that will take care of any of your own children from a previous relationship as well as your spouse.
How your children may be left out
Without these plans in place, children from a previous marriage may be inadvertently disinherited. This is not necessarily because of malice on the part of the stepparent. Sometimes, after the biological parent’s death, children and their stepparent might grow apart, and it might not occur to the stepparent to include the children. The stepparent might then create an estate plan in which assets pass to their own children. Careful planning can help ensure that your wishes are carried out and may make the process of estate administration less difficult.
Advantages of a trust
Using a standard will may cause problems. There are a few possible alternatives you could use to prevent this. You could create a trust instead of a will. One type of trust could support your spouse while they were still alive, with the assets passing to your children after their death. At the same time, you could still leave some of your assets to your children.
Another scenario in which your children may end up disinherited is if your spouse remarries, so you may want to keep this is mind as well. If you do have a trust, it is important to appoint a trustee who can manage any tension between your spouse and children. You should also think about who you want to have medical power of attorney if you are incapacitated. If you are hospitalized, there could be a dispute between your spouse and children about your health care.
One thing that may help reduce the likelihood of conflict among your loved ones regarding your estate plan is good communication. If you talk to them about the plan, they may better understand your intentions and know what to anticipate.