Denver Estate Planning Attorney For Blended Families
The idea of a “traditional family” is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Nearly every family has its own unique composition. Divorce or the loss of a spouse and a subsequent remarriage can mean that children with different parents become part of one large, blended family. In other cases, couples may decide that they do not want to enter into a legally recognized marriage. In some instances, individuals may be estranged from their blood relatives but nonetheless enjoy a familial relationship with others to who they are not related by blood.
All of the above examples can raise a number of different concerns when it comes to estate planning for blended families. At the Colorado Brady, McFarland & Lord, LLC, our firm’s founder, attorney Karen L. Brady, has more than 21 years of legal experience helping blended and other nontraditional families help plan for the future. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us online or call (303) 420-2863 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.
Common Estate Planning Concerns For Blended Families
A number of concerns and challenges greet blended families when it comes to estate planning, including:
- The inadvertent disinheritance of children and stepchildren
- Delayed inheritance on behalf of children following the death of a parent’s spouse
- Asset protection, especially when it comes to ex-spouses
- Disputes and legal challenges over a previous estate plan
The good news is that many of these challenges and concerns can be addressed before they turn into potential problems.
Helping You Plan For Your Family’s Future
Whether a remarriage has turned you into a stepparent or if you simply wish to leave your assets to a person who is not a blood relative, we can help. If you have created an estate plan in the past, we can help you update your plan to reflect your current wishes and the needs of your family. If you have not set up an estate plan, it is never too early nor too late to start. Our estate planning lawyers in Arvada will work closely with you to ensure that your desires are heard and your goals are met. We can also help you if you wish to change the beneficiaries of any insurance policies or retirement plans.
Divorced, Remarried, or Widowed? Let Us Help You
We know how difficult it can be to go through a divorce or to lose a loved one. The last thing we want is for your estate to suffer as a result of this loss. We can help you. Any time you get divorced or remarried, you should consider hiring an estate planning attorney to help you update your important documents. For most people, the last thing they want is for their ex-spouse to get all of their assets once they pass away or for their ex-spouse to be able to make decisions about their estate or other end-of-life issues. The following information is important to keep in mind anytime you’re part of a nontraditional or a blended family, especially if you have children.
Update Beneficiary Designations: Anytime your family status changes – you get divorced, remarry, have children, adopt children – you should ensure that all of your beneficiary designations are updated appropriately. Whenever you have to name a beneficiary, that executed document controls who the asset goes to upon your death. It is not controlled by a will. For example, your life insurance policy, employer retirement plan, health savings account, and annuities need to have a beneficiary. If you executed these documents when you were married, you may want to update them if you get divorced or remarried, or other living arrangements have changed.
Consider Your Children: If you have minor children and you wish to name them as a beneficiary, keep in mind that if you pass away before they turn 18, the court must establish guardianship for them until they become 18 years old. Once they turn 18, they’ll receive the entire inheritance. This is risky because your children can then spend the money on whatever they want. While they may be considered an adult, 18-year-olds don’t always make the best decisions. Instead, you could name an adult beneficiary with the understanding that the adult will use the money to care for your children as you wish, or until they reach a more responsible age. This adult would obviously have to be someone whose judgment you really trust. This is somewhat challenging because there’s no guarantee that the adult will use the money as you ask them to. All the more reason to get our professional estate planning attorneys involved.
Another option is to name a trust as the beneficiary and then select your own trustee (a parent, sibling, or someone else you trust). You can instruct them on how they are permitted to use the trust assets. If they misuse them, they can be held liable. This is a good option if you want to leave money to your children but you want to ensure that it is used appropriately.
Contact Our Colorado Estate Planning Attorney For Blended Families Today
From our Arvada law offices, provide skilled legal representation for individuals and couples throughout the greater Denver area. Contact us online or call (303) 420-2863 for an initial consultation to discuss your needs.