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Blended families and estate planning

Blended families are increasingly common in New York. They can result in considerations to take into account during the estate planning process. It is important for people to update existing plans and designated beneficiaries to make certain that their children will be taken care of if they pass away.

One thing that people sometimes forget to do is to update the beneficiaries on their retirement accounts and life insurance policies. This is important for people to do because beneficiary designations on these accounts and policies will trump whatever is stated in wills. That makes it important for them to be updated to reflect the blended family.

Living trusts might also be a good idea. This can help to make certain that people's assets will go to their beneficiaries as they want. In some cases, owners may die, leaving their estate to their new spouse. When that spouse dies, the assets will then pass to the spouse's children rather than the children of the owner, meaning that they may accidentally be excluded. Living trusts may be used to provide a lifetime income for a new spouse with the remainder going to all of the children.

Estate planning when a person's family is blended may be complex. People might want to get help from an estate planning attorney for advice on how to make certain that their assets will pass to the people to whom they intend them to pass. An attorney may help by drawing up all of the documents for such clients. Legal counsel may also suggest ways to plan their clients' estates in ways that minimize the potential tax consequences that might otherwise occur.

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