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Blended families may find estate planning process complicated

People naturally may not be interested in putting together a will simply because they prefer to avoid the topic of death. If they end up dying without a will, though, their true wishes regarding what happens to their property and valuable assets might not be upheld. Estate planning is essential for every family in Texas, although the process for blended families may be more complicated  than that for families who are not blended.

Blended families, like other families, have to deal with the fact that death-related taxes are unavoidable. However, they must also deal with the potential conflict that may arise among the ex-spouse, current spouse and children from both one's current and one's previous marriages. Conflict may also involve one's stepchildren.

People in blended families must decide if they want ceratin children to inherit more than the others. In addition, if an individual's new spouse has an estate that is substantial, then the person might decide to leave more of his or her own estate to his or her biological children. In addition, if a individual's new marital partner has little in the way of assets, the person might choose to leave some of his or her assets to this new spouse.

If a person in Texas dies with no will or living trust, a probate court has to divide his or her assets among the current spouse as well as the adopted children, stepchildren and biological children. Issues concerning separate property brought into a marital union may further make this division complicated. Proper legal guidance may help people in all types of family situations engage in well-thought-out estate planning for their sake and that of their loved ones.

Source: thespectrum.com, "Estate planning for blended families more complex", Scott Halvorsen, July 3, 2015

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