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Updating beneficiaries essential for blended families

Estate planning is important for all types of families, both large and small. However, it is especially critical for people who are in a blended family. Blended families in Texas would be wise to start estate planning now, before their plans have to be implemented, and it starts with updating the designations of beneficiaries.

It is important to update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts as well as insurance policies so that they reflect the reality of one's blended family. The designations on these accounts can end up superseding the instructions that one provides in one's will. For instance, if the will mentions that one's current spouse is to receive one's assets but a former spouse is listed on the assets as beneficiaries, then the former spouse will receive the assets.

To make sure that one's children from a former marriage are included when assets are distributed after one's death, it may be beneficial to name one's current spouse as the primary beneficiary and then one's children from another marriage as the equal contingent beneficiaries. However, in this case, one's primary beneficiary will get all of the assets and can freely do what he or she will with them. It is possible to name several primary beneficiaries and then designate what percentage of an asset each will get.

Estate planning is generally not a favorite activity to do in Texas since individuals prefer not to talk about the possibility of death. However, discussing estate planning is critical for making sure that one's assets end up in the intended hands. An applied understanding of the law may help people designate the appropriate beneficiaries on assets and understand the importance of wills and other relevant estate planning documents.

Source: willcoxrangenews.com, "Estate planning tips for blended families", Cheryl Mclaughlin, Dec. 1, 2016

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