Don’t Leave Your Blended Family’s Future To Chance
Blended families come in all shapes and sizes. Combining children from different parents can be a huge blessing. Still, it also presents unique challenges when it comes to probate.
Many people entering a blended family have a will or estate plan created in a previous marriage that they never update. Some others assume that everything will automatically pass down to the children from each marriage reasonably. However, it rarely turns out how you want it to, and the best way to prevent issues is to create a comprehensive estate plan and will.
Estate planning for blended families can be complicated. Still, an experienced estate planning and probate attorney can help you through the process. With over 45 years of experience practicing estate planning and probate law in Bloomington and throughout Minnesota, Attorney Bill Peterson knows the ins and outs of preparing a plan for blended families.
What Can Go Wrong
In Minnesota, the estate will likely end up in probate court when someone dies without a will, called intestate succession. In probate proceedings, a court decides how a deceased person’s assets are distributed. This process can often be lengthy and costly, resulting in tensions between family members. With a blended family, this can be devastating.
Your assets, in this case, will go to your closest relatives under state law. These assets often include property, life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts and vehicles. Under intestate succession laws in Minnesota, your spouse will get a share of your property, and the descendants inherit everything else. Foster children and stepchildren that were never legally adopted will not automatically receive a share of your estate.
If your will is straightforward and gives your entire estate to your surviving spouse with no mention of biological or stepchildren, the stepchildren likely will not receive a share of the assets. With no specific instructions left, the stepchildren you have cared for and loved may not be taken care of in the way you would have wanted.
Taking Steps To Prevent An Inheritance Nightmare
Many married couples leave everything to each other in their wills if one passes away first. In blended families, a frequent issue is the surviving spouse may decide not to leave anything for the children that are not biologically theirs, especially if they remarry. There are ways to prevent this happening, if that is your wish.
You may also think you can provide for your children by naming them as beneficiaries in a life insurance policy. Life insurance and retirement accounts do not pass down through your will. The best way to prevent a painful and extended fight is to prepare an adequate estate plan and will that lay clearly out your wishes and names your beneficiaries and heirs.
From Planning To Navigating The Probate Process, We Are Here For You
Probate is a difficult process for every family. Navigating the complex process while dealing with grief and an emotional family can seem next to impossible. The best thing you can do for your family is to plan ahead and create an estate plan or to contact an attorney to help you with the probate process. Contact Peterson Law Office, LLC, at 952-641-7312 or online to discuss how we can help your family through probate.