Family structures in California have changed over the years. Blended families have become the norm, and this can present challenges where estate planning is concerned. With the addition of second spouses, stepchildren and former spouses, the complexity of formulating a plan for passing on one’s estate to one’s heirs can seem overwhelming.
One factor to keep in mind when compiling a plan is that the document is not written in stone. Documents such as wills, trusts and other related documents are meant to be reviewed and modified every few years or as one’s life situation changes. Putting together a plan that works for now is a good strategy.
If a couple is marrying and they each have minor children and/or are planning to have children together, providing for those children in the event of one or both parents experience a premature death should be a priority. The question of guardianship should be addressed. Establishing a trust for present and future children can also help ensure their continued care in the event of a tragedy. Careful consideration should be given to the naming of a trustee in this situation, and it should be someone who would be familiar with ones wishes regarding the children.
Bringing two families together in California to create a new family can be exciting and sometimes a little scary. Providing for unforeseen situations and ensuring that one’s heirs are provided for can provide a new family peace of mind. A knowledgeable professional can review the new family situation and advise the client on creating a plan that helps to ensure his or her final wishes will be carried out.