What "The Brady Bunch" Didn't Talk About
The iconic television series,
The Brady Bunch, first aired in the late 60's, early 70's and revolved around
a large "blended" family. The simple definition of a blended
family is one in which at least one parent has children that are not biologically
related to the other parent. The show gave the impression that all the
kids got along, mom and dad had no issues with ex-spouses, and everything
is perfect with their beautiful family.
In the real world, blended families result from various life changes such
as divorce, remarriage, death and even adoption, thus when it comes to
estate planning, things can get tricky. There are several things to talk
about, and the sooner the better - some of which, Mike and Carol Brady
could have at least mentioned!
Set Goals & Identify Priorities
As with ANY estate plan, your documents should be tailored to YOUR situation.
Talk about who will be the beneficiaries of cash, real estate, government
benefits, etc. Also, identify both how and when they will receive parts
of your estate. It is a common misconception that if you die without a
will, all of your estate passes to your spouse. You may want to ensure
that parts of your estate are transferred to both your spouse and your children.
This is vitally important when it comes to blended families. Check things
such as vehicle titles, life insurance, retirement accounts, stocks, annuities,
etc. If you never update or change your current estate plan, your EX-Spouse
(if left designated) will be the beneficiary. Can we say…awkward!
Close all Joint Accounts
Further to the updating of beneficiaries, it is equally important to close
previously shared joint-accounts. When one owner dies, the account will
automatically be passed with full ownership to the surviving owner. Since
an owner of a joint- account cannot be removed, it must be closed altogether
to dissolve ownership and a new account must be opened in its place.
Revoke Previous Powers of Attorney
Simply put, if you had any sort of estate plan created during your previous
marriage, you more than likely gave your spouse the right to act on your
behalf via power of attorney. ABSOLUTELY, check with your attorney to
confirm the state code for revoke this authority and work with them to
also create a new one, designation
Choose a Personal Representative for Your Estate
Pick someone to represent you, and choose wisely. This person also named
the 'executor' of your estate, will ensure that your planning
wishes are carried out upon your passing. In some instances, blended families
may opt to designate co-executors, one from each side of the family perhaps.
Given all the items above when creating a new family, all of your important
legal and financial documents should be recreated from scratch. Contact
us today so that we may assist with creating and revising documents such
as your WILL, POWER OF ATTORNEY, HEALTHCARE DIRECTIVE, LIVING WILL, TRUST
and much more.
Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC is a professional law corporation that provides
a complete range of estate planning services including trusts, wills,
powers of attorney and more. Our attorneys will work with you to develop
and implement an estate plan specifically designed for you, your family,
your business, your property, and your wishes. We use every legal tool
at our disposal, along with our extensive real-world experience, to develop
personalized estate plans for every client.
So plan ahead and call us today for your consultation. With Mortensen &
Reinheimer, PC at your side, together we can secure your estate for the future.
To Learn More About Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC, click
Real People. Real Solutions.