The modern family unit looks different than when your grandparents got married. Families in previous eras typically consisted of two opposite-sex parents and one or several children. Today, families are as varied as the individuals that populate the earth.
Napa, California estate plans also look quite different than in the past. The inclusion of specifically-worded documents like trusts helps meet the needs of families, regardless of their structure. The blended family, for example, requires unique estate planning solutions to protect its members.
Know the law
All states have individual laws that address estates and estate planning. While these statutes may look alike, there are usually at least a few differences. For example, a handwritten will is allowed in California but is illegal in many other states. (It’s important to note that handwritten wills are problematic and seldom a good idea.)
Know the possibilities
When you turn two families into one, establishing present and future protection is a critical endeavor. If you die without safeguarding the rights of the children you brought into the marriage, they could lose their portion of what you leave behind. Situations like this occur more frequently than you might imagine.
In most blended families, a preventative approach works well and helps to prevent disputes or even wrongdoing down the road. For example, including a well-drafted trust can guard the inheritance of your biological children while also providing for your spouse’s kids.
When you understand what you can and cannot do when estate planning, you are in the best position to protect all members of your blended family. We suggest that you continue learning more about the power of estate planning and trusts for blended families in California.