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Estate planning essential for blended families

Creating an estate plan is important for every family in Texas. However, it is especially critical for blended families. A few tips may help people with blended families to navigate the complex estate planning process.

First, it is important to ensure that all beneficiary designations are updated. The designations include those on insurance policies and retirement accounts. They are especially important because they supersede instructions included in a will. Therefore, if a will names a current spouse to inherit one's assets but a previous spouse is named as the beneficiary of one's IRA, then this former spouse will ended up getting the IRA funds.

It may also be beneficial to set up a living trust. Living trusts offer the benefit of helping people to avoid the process of probate, which can be costly and time consuming. These trusts also give people the freedom to decide how they want their assets distributed and when they should be distributed. A trust that is structured properly could provide a surviving wife or husband with the income he or she will need for the rest of his or her life. Then, when she dies, the children can receive the rest of the trust.

The estate planning process can naturally be overwhelming for blended families and even traditional families. However, not creating an estate plan means one's family members may not get the assets intended for them. Well-thought-out estate planning ultimately makes it possible for people to control what happens to their assets posthumously in Texas.

Source: fairfieldbaynews.com, "Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families", Dan Feuer, Nov. 9, 2016

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