In the 21st century, blended families are hardly uncommon. A re-marriage often requires the couple to blend children from previous marriages into a new blended family—a task that is usually not easy. If you are working on creating your own blended family, don’t forget to address some of the estate planning changes that typically come along with a blended family.
Some estate planning changes that often accompany a re-marriage are obvious, such as changing gifts in a Last Will and Testament; however, other are not as obvious. For example, you may also need to change the executor of your Will now that you are re-married. If your previous spouse was the executor then you likely thought to make that change, but if you appointed an adult child as executor, you may still want to make a change to a neutral third party now that you have a blended family. The same may be true for the trustee of a trust or the agent in a power of attorney.
You may also want to dig out old retirement accounts and life insurance policies to be sure that you update any beneficiary designations. Bank accounts, titles to vehicles, investment accounts, and the deed to your house may also need to be re-titled.
Another issue that may need to be addressed is Medicaid planning. The Medicaid program will look to your spouse’s assets and income when determining if you qualify for assistance regardless of any agreement between you and your new spouse that states you are both responsible for your own long-term care costs. Including a Medicaid plan in your estate plan, however, may solve that problem.
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