Pleasanton Estate Planning Attorneys Helping With Estate Planning for Blended Families CA
Planning ahead for your death can be a difficult prospect for many people. Estate planning involves several important decisions that can benefit all families but are especially important for blended families. Some choices that must be made are how to distribute your wealth, including money, real estate property, vehicles, and other assets among any beneficiaries. This becomes more complicated for people in second marriages who may have children from a previous marriage. You may also consider whether to have a living will that indicates how to proceed should you become incapacitated. Creating a trust or a living trust is another option that can be very helpful for individuals who are in a nontraditional family situation, ensuring that their assets are protected from taxes as much as possible.
Your family is unique, and the options for creating the right estate plan for you are virtually limitless. The talented legal team at DeCarli Law recognizes that your wishes and needs are unique and important, and we will listen compassionately to you at every step of the way. Begin your estate planning process today by turning to a trusted attorney who can make the process as simple as possible while addressing all your needs in an estate plan that is legal and valid in Pleasanton, CA. You can reach us at (925) 568-2350 to make a virtual or in-person appointment for free.
Why is Estate Planning so Important for Blended Families?
Planning now for the distribution of your estate after you die is a great way to care for your family, no matter what shape or form it may take. We see many cases where individuals hesitate to create a will or trust because of the enormity of the decisions involved. But this extra planning can make all the difference for your loved ones as it can help avoid conflict and even needing to go through probate court. These matters are important for traditional families with a husband, wife, and children, but become even more critical for blended families. You may have gone through a divorce, and you are remarried with stepchildren, or you could be a grandparent with custody of your grandchildren. Whatever the structure of your family, you should have a plan in place for your death, especially if minor children are involved.
Many people think that their family relationships are so strong that having an estate plan is not necessary for them. While this is wonderful and is a goal we should all strive for, it is a fact of life that situations can change and that serious matters such as death and incapacitation can have a detrimental effect on relationships, especially in that of a blended family. These family members have the extra stress of coming from different biological families and may struggle to reconcile loyalties between the two families. In some cases, children can act in a way that prevents a new spouse from receiving an inheritance or visitation rights for the individual who is incapacitated. Other times, we see one spouse preventing biological children from becoming beneficiaries. With an estate plan created ahead of time, these conflicts are resolved easily according to the documents the individual prepared ahead of time.
Your family will have its own unique needs and challenges. No matter what you are facing, you can turn to DeCarli Law for an estate planning attorney from California who will make sure your spouse and children are protected for the future.
What Do I Need to Make an Estate Plan?
Every individual should consider creating an estate plan in order to protect their loved ones and provide for their best future. For blended families, this becomes even more critical as the relationships can come in the way of the administration of the deceased person’s estate. Having a will or trust (or both) is also a great way of keeping the amount of taxes that will need to be paid to a minimum and can even help keep your family from having to go through probate court to resolve disagreements and other claims on the assets.
Matters can quickly become complicated for blended families as conflicts could arise from the varying relationships. For example, during trust administration, the individual can specify how to handle dividing assets for their new spouse, for his or her children, and their biological children. This can establish expectations for how much to pay each beneficiary and eliminate conflict that might have otherwise arisen during estate administration. An estate plan can also help by providing instructions if you become incapacitated. This is known as a living will, and allows trusted individuals to make decisions for you in regard to your healthcare. It can also help guarantee that your spouse or children can visit you without interference from other family members.
Estate plans can be complicated and confusing, but these many options are great news for people in blended families. It means that your distinctive needs, which are different from anyone else’s, can be met by an estate plan created just for you by trusted estate planning attorneys.
What Kind of Estate Plan is Right for My Family?
With your blended family’s unique situation, it can be difficult to determine how to develop the right estate plan. Many people find that having a will is a good place to start, as it indicates how to divide your assets among the beneficiaries that you choose. This is incredibly important for blended families because if you die intestate or without a will, your family will need to go through probate in order for your assets to be distributed. This can mean that loved ones who aren’t close relations, including close friends and unmarried partners, can be left with nothing. Having a will can also mean that disagreements among family members can be resolved quickly.
Creating a trust is another great way to protect your property both while you are alive and after your death. In California, a trust is administered by a trustee who directs how your wealth is administered according to your instructions (we also recommend you choose a successor trustee in case the trustee passes away or cannot fulfill their obligations).
Whatever path you choose for your planning, you should reach out to a law firm, so you have knowledgeable lawyers on your side, making sure everything is established correctly according to the law. This will not only provide peace of mind for you now but also ensure that after you die, your family is not confronted with any unpleasant surprises such as an invalid will. Reach out to our skilled legal team today for your free initial consultation by phone or in person.
What Happens if I Don’t Have an Estate Plan?
We encourage our clients in nearly all cases to choose to create an up-to-date estate plan in order to provide the best future possible for their loved ones. At DeCarli Law, we believe that these preparations are even more important for blended families because of the challenges they face with such unique family relationships after the death of parents or spouses. Whether you have children from a previous marriage or have stepchildren in your new marriage following a divorce, you want to make sure everyone has the benefits you want for them.
Estate planning can protect your new spouse as well as your biological children from being left out of the inheritance you have in store for them. You also don’t want to leave anything to chance when it comes to leaving behind minor children after your death. You will need a will that names a new guardian for their physical and financial wellbeing.
Should you die without a plan in place, you may be exposing your loved ones to higher taxes and a lengthy court procedure in the probate process. During probate in California, the state decides who receives what from your assets. This can obviously create a lot of tension and unfairness, which is not the legacy you want to leave behind for your family.
Do I Need Attorneys to Prepare My Estate Plan?
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to preparing for the future is creating estate planning documents in preparation for your death. The many options can be overwhelming, and the prospect of your death is not exactly a cheery one to consider. But estate planning can be simple and doesn’t have to be scary when you have an attorney on your side to walk you through the process. For blended families, establishing a plan now can make all the difference in reducing the burden of decision-making on how to divide your estate.
If you are in marriage following a divorce, if you have stepchildren, or if you are a grandparent with custody of your grandchildren, you have challenges that many traditional families do not face. Decide today to take steps to best help your family after you pass away. Reach out to the competent lawyers at DeCarli Law for help with any estate planning needs. Our staff is waiting to talk to you today and can be reached by calling (925) 568-2350. We are pleased to offer a free consultation at our Pleasanton, CA office. We also realize that many people at this time would rather meet virtually or by phone, and we are happy to accommodate those preferences also.