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Blended families, estate planning and the family home

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Many people put off estate planning. Perhaps they prefer not to think about death while they are young and healthy. The old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” That is a very accurate statement when it comes to estate planning.

If people in your life are dependent on your income, you should have life insurance. If you own any valuable property, you need a will or trust. If you have a blended family, like more than 41,000 Minnesotans do, creating a fair plan can become complicated, especially when it comes to the family home. It may currently be your most valuable asset, but upon your death, it can become the biggest heartache for those you leave behind. Extra planning now may help prevent some issues.

Establish a trust

Creating a trust may be the single most important thing you can do for your family. A trust allows you to leave assets to beneficiaries and determine how and when to distribute them. Trusts can help blended families because the trustee can be someone other than the surviving spouse, which may ease concerns over divided loyalties. It can be reassuring to know that an impartial third party is in charge.

Provide immediate funds

A home is often the most valuable part of an estate, which may lead to conflicting interests. Your spouse will likely want to continue living there, while your children may want it sold so that they can split the proceeds. If possible, dispense some money to each beneficiary immediately following your death. That gesture of providing for your children can help them feel cared for and comforted.

Communicate constantly

Let your family know what you have planned for your estate, and listen to what all members have to say. Siblings often have very different feelings about their childhood home. You do not need to alter your plans based on their input, but each child needs to feel heard. Communicate with your estate planner, as well. You should revisit your plan every three to five years and also when there is a major life event, such as a marriage or birth.