The idea of someone having several half or step siblings has always been around, but it seems to be much more prevalent these days. The issue in estate planning for someone who has children in one or two previous relationships is that the current spouse may want to change around any estate arrangements after their spouse has passed away. For especially large estates that combine to become even bigger estates, the idea of trying to provide for a blended family can be complicated.
An excellent option for parents to make sure that their natural children are not bumped out of an estate arrangement upon their death is to take out a life insurance policy that names the natural children as beneficiaries. For example, the father of a child decides to remarry after his divorce and he and his new wife have a child.
To help protect the first child's future, the father can take out a life insurance policy that names the first child as a beneficiary. Not only does the first child not have to wait for their stepmother to pass away to receive their inheritance, but this also allows the couple to make arrangements for the new child that do not exclude the first child.
Using life insurance proceeds as an inheritance is also helpful if there are any children born out of wedlock. With blended families, previous children born out of wedlock can be kept out of any inheritance if the surviving parent is a step-parent. A life insurance policy pays regardless as to the relationship of the child to the adult.
When a trust is established, changes cannot be made without the approval of all parties named as owners of the trust. A mother on her second marriage and a father on his third could put all of their assets into that trust and then name beneficiaries in a way that benefits all of the previous children from other relationships. When the mother or father passes away, the remaining spouse will be unable to alter the beneficiary arrangements, which means that the remaining spouse cannot disinherit any of the children.
As adults get remarried, it is imperative that they update their wills to reflect their changing situation. A will that is not properly updated to reflect the needs of all of a person's children is going to leave someone out, and that is extremely hard to fight in probate. The youngest child of a father who was married twice may find himself left out of the family estate if the father does not update the will. An updated will speaks on behalf of the deceased parent, and a comprehensive will is going to make decisions much easier for the probate court.
Love can be a splending thing, but it can also make estate planning extremely difficult. A blended family that consist of step and half siblings could wind up leaving someone out of the family fortune if the parents to not make the proper arrangements while they are alive. Providing for the future of blended families is not complicated, but it can create a lot of complications if it is not done immediately and properly.