Matthew S. Payne is a Schaumburg-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Estate planning tips to protect your blended family

On Behalf of | May 29, 2022 | Estate Planning

Many Illinois residents are in their second marriages, which means they might have stepchildren. It’s important to use these estate planning tips to protect your blended family.

Create a trust

Creating a revocable living trust is a good way to hold assets and property and secure them for your family members to receive in the future. You can manage the trust yourself or choose someone else to do it for you and add or remove property at any point. The trust can prevent the property from going through probate upon your death.

Update your beneficiaries

If you get remarried and have stepchildren, you will want to immediately update your beneficiaries on all estate planning documents and life insurance and retirement accounts. Naming your new spouse and stepchildren will ensure that they are included in inheritances in the event of your passing.

Update your will and other legal documents

Updating your will is another crucial step to take when you have a blended family. In the past, when you created the document, you probably named your former spouse to inherit property and assets. You will now want your current spouse to receive those things instead.

Estate planning documents like health care directives and powers of attorney should be updated. You may want your new spouse or a child to ensure that your wishes are carried out for your medical care and financial matters.

Don’t treat all your heirs equally

Although you’ll want to protect your biological children to ensure they receive their inheritances, you may not want to treat them equally. For example, if one of your children is estranged from your family due to a criminal background, you might not want to leave them as large an inheritance as their siblings.

Following these tips can help protect your blended family.