Wealth Planning

Managing the Financial Needs of a Family with Many Generations

August 15th 2016

For certain people, the word "mixed family" can have a variety of connotations. A new spouse and children, as well as family members from a prior marriage, might make it difficult to figure out a strategy that works for all parties. However, a little forethought can make all the difference. Consider the following tips to get your life in order.

Do your pre- or post-nuptial planning now.

If you're going to have a successful marriage, it's best to start talking as soon as possible. Make a written agreement outlining your financial goals and how you see your possessions. Conflict and misunderstandings can be avoided in the future by doing this. Pre- or postnuptial agreements should be handled by two separate attorneys.

Make sure your assets are titled correctly.

Even the most meticulously crafted will or trust might be upended by the manner you title your possessions. Your new spouse inherits immediately, regardless of your wishes indicated in a will or a trust, if you own property together as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Make sure to retitle the property in your individual name or in the joint name of you and your spouse, and your children, and make sure that your estate planning paperwork designate the property as a bequest to them.

Consider purchasing life insurance.

To ensure that your new spouse and younger children are taken care of in the event that you die, you may want to consider purchasing life insurance (or vice versa).

As your family grows, so does the complexity of estate planning, but one question might help you approach your plans: Do I want my step-children to wait until their step-parent passes away before receiving assets, such as life insurance money? Providing your children with this financial flexibility could alleviate some of the stress they may feel as a result of having to wait for their stepparent's death to get their inheritance. For newlyweds who are younger than their partner, this is extremely vital.

There are many ways in which a life insurance policy can be used to pay for children from a second marriage while at the same time transferring wealth to children from an earlier marriage. A simple and efficient way to compensate for the expenses you've already spent for your older children and would have paid for your younger children is through insurance, especially if your younger children are still in school or haven't left the house yet.

Update your health care and power of attorney documents

Examine and revise your health care and special or durable power of attorney paperwork to reflect who you want to be your agent and holder of the power. There's a chance the paperwork still list your ex-spouse. It's also possible that you named your children before getting married again. If the current documents do not reflect your current desires, you will have to make changes to them. An individual's new spouse and children may be part of a "commission" when it comes to a blended family. Keep in mind that only one individual at a time may operate as a health care agent in many states, and some even mandate it.

Begin the process of introducing your new spouse or adult children to your trustworthy advisors.

For tax, legal, and investment matters, you and your new spouse may work with different advisors. Each of your advisors should be introduced to the other in order to make it easier for you to get help in the future when the need arises. Your counsel should be introduced to your adult children as well.

Meetings with your spouse, children, and stepchildren can help you identify possible areas of conflict. Your family gatherings might also be a place for you to discuss your estate plan. Your family members may have less misunderstandings about your goals if they hear you say them themselves.

Each family's dynamics, wealth, and circumstances are unique. You must contact with your attorney to determine which planning choices are best for you. Taking the time to plan and talk about your family's future now can have a huge impact on your new family.

As your family's composition and objectives change, be sure to speak with a Aldwin Callen representative.

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