California Estate Planning Attorneys for Blended Families Offering Solutions to Unique Challenges
When you are estate planning, your goals may be peace of mind for you and security for your family. There are many aspects of estate planning, and at DeCarli Law we believe that the best place to start is by recognizing what makes your family unique. No two families are the same, and their needs in estate planning will be different as well. How you distribute your assets to your surviving spouse, former spouse, children, and stepchildren will vary from what any other individual may choose. Some documents that can be helpful are a will, a living will, and one of a variety of kinds of trusts. A combination of these may be necessary to ensure that any beneficiaries you have in mind will receive what you wish to leave for them. With all of the options available to you, choosing a law firm to help you in this process can be one of the most critical decisions you make. At DeCarli Law, we listen to our clients and plan carefully according to that individual’s situation and wishes. Our attorneys meet both virtually and in person, as well as by phone. Contact us today to make an appointment for your initial free consultation at (707) 937-2701.
What is a Blended Family and How Does it Affect Estate Planning?
Blended and non-traditional families come in many combinations and varieties, including:
- Families where one or both spouses or partners have children from a previous marriage or relationship;
- Unmarried couples; or
- Grandparents caring for grandchildren
Many families feel that an estate plan won’t be necessary for them because they have great relationships with their blended family unit. While it is a great goal to have a strong relationship with your new spouse and their children throughout your life, the fact is that sometimes people grow apart or experience conflict when it comes to estate planning matters. Some families find that when a parent dies, the lack of beneficiary designations in the person’s will leads to disagreements about how to divide the decedent’s wealth. Decisions on the children’s inheritance, as well as on healthcare for an individual who is incapacitated, will need to be made. It can bring great peace of mind and lessen conflict for these decisions to be indicated by the individual during estate planning.
Each has a different family dynamic, but they all have one thing in common: a do-it-yourself will or estate plan from the internet is not going to cover your family’s needs and will likely produce conflict in the future. DeCarli Law will address the complexities of your unique family situation to create a family estate plan that minimizes conflicts now and in the future.
What is Involved in the Estate Planning Process?
Estate planning is an important part of life for any individual but becomes even more important for a blended family. In an estate plan, an individual determines how their financial accounts, real property, and other assets will be distributed to any beneficiaries. They may also choose to place assets in a trust that can give the family more privacy as well as avoid the complicated process of probate.
In a blended family, the beneficiary designations are even more important in order to avoid conflict about how to handle the estate assets between the surviving spouse, the spouse’s children, and the biological children of the person who died. Questions about life insurance policies will also be answered when preparing estate planning documents. The person may also choose to establish an advanced healthcare directive that specifies who will make medical decisions should they become incapacitated.
With so many options and variables, any person in a blended family should consider using estate planning attorneys in this process to make sure their assets are distributed in the way they wish as well as ensuring that all estate planning documents are drawn up in a way that makes them valid in California.
Why Would I Need an Estate Plan?
At DeCarli Law, we believe that in almost every case, an estate plan is the right way to go when preparing for your death. It can make all the difference for your peace of mind and the highest level of protection for your family when you die, especially if you have minor children. If you have a new spouse or have children from a previous marriage, it may be even more important for you because blended families’ estate planning solves many issues that come up that could have been avoided if a will or trust had been put into place.
You want to make sure that after your death, your current spouse doesn’t get left out of any inheritance that you have to offer. You will also want to choose someone you trust to have a durable power of attorney so that your spouse and children have someone looking after them when you die. If you have trusts, the person you choose as trustee will fill the role of distributing the trust assets, helping ensure that all members of your family are looked after.
Having an estate plan is also an important way to provide for your loved ones, making sure they don’t have to go through the probate process after you pass away. In probate, a court decides who inherits what from your estate. This can be expensive and can leave your friends or unmarried domestic partners with nothing. Please reach out to us right away to discuss creating the best estate plan for you in order to protect your loved ones.
Should I Hire Lawyers to Help Create My Estate Plan?
Thinking about the possibility of your own death may not seem to be an easy task. But estate planning doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can make a huge difference in the lives of your loved ones after your death. You can make the choice today to create an estate plan that will protect all the members of your blended family. Whether you are in a first marriage or if you have divorced, if you are a grandparent who is a guardian of your grandchildren, or in any other unique nontraditional family situation, our talented estate planning attorneys can help. Learn more about California estate planning attorney Debra DeCarli and all of DeCarli Law’s California estate planning services. We welcome you to contact us for a free initial consultation about how we may be of service to your family.