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The Importance of Proper Estate Planning When You Have a Blended Family

Posted on in Estate Planning

Bay Area estate planning lawyerThe makeup of the average American family has changed dramatically in recent decades. A large percentage of families now include children from multiple marriages. In some cases, both spouses have children from previous marriages in addition to the children the couple shares together. If you are part of a blended family, proper estate planning is especially crucial. Failing to properly plan for your family’s future can lead to arguments, confusion, and unintentional consequences.

Allowing the State to Handle Inheritance Matters Eliminates Your Control

Thinking about how your worldly possessions should be distributed to your heirs is a topic that many people try to avoid. In fact, only about half of adults over 55 years old have any type of estate plan in place. Understandably, it can be very uncomfortable to make plans for a time when you are no longer around. However, failing to plan for how your estate should be managed after your death leaves your surviving loved ones with a substantial burden. Your children, grandchildren, and other surviving loved ones will be left guessing how you wanted your assets distributed. Furthermore, passing away without an estate plan means that you give up the right to dictate how your hard-earned assets are handled after your death.

Dying Without an Estate Plan Can Leave Some Children with Nothing

In a blended family situation, the consequences of dying without a will can be even worse. If you pass away without a will or other estate planning tools in place, your estate will be subject to California’s intestacy laws. This means that you have no say in how your property is distributed to heirs. According to California law, most of person’s estate—including all community property—goes to his or her spouse upon his or her death. When the spouse dies, his or her estate passes to his or her children. This means that your children could unintentionally be left with little or nothing if you pass away before your spouse.  

Inadequate Estate Plans Can Lead to Family Feuds

When singer Aretha Franklin died in 2018, she did not have a formal will or trust. Instead, she left behind a series of handwritten notes that described how she wanted her $17 million estate divided among heirs. This has led to a massive legal battle between her surviving loved ones. Contentious legal battles can occur regardless of the value of a deceased person’s estate. One of the best ways you can prevent your estate from becoming the subject of a family feud is to create a comprehensive estate plan.

Contact a Bay Area Estate Planning Lawyer

At the Law Office of Martin Alperen, we understand that creating an estate plan can seem overwhelming. San Francisco estate planning lawyer Martin Alperen and the rest our team is dedicated to helping you understand your legal rights and responsibilities and design an estate plan that meets your unique needs. Call us at 415-534-1200 for a free consult.

 

Sources:

https://www.hourdetroit.com/community/aretha-franklin-estate/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiegermano/2019/02/15/despite-their-priorities-nearly-half-of-americans-over-55-still-dont-have-a-will/

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