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Blended families underscore the need for estate planning

The many variables and options in establishing an estate plan can be confusing, and careful planning is needed to ensure that the ultimate result is the one desired. The primary basis for most Florida residents' estate plans is to achieve a balance between ensuring that their spouse is taken care of and leaving some provisions for their children as well. When there is only one marriage, finding that balance can be straightforward, but when a second marriage and a new family are part of the mix, it is particularly important to review and update the plan.

Personal financial experts report that the largest age group who remarries falls in the above 55 category. This is significant because this is also the age group that typically has more assets coming into a marriage than any other age group, such as real estate, retirement accounts and investment accounts. Also, many people at this age have children from their first marriage. A plan that leaves all assets to the new spouse probably means that the kids from the first marriage will receive nothing, and this result may not be the intention.

One way to handle distributions after death is naming beneficiaries on monetary accounts as permitted by the financial institutions holding them. Often, there can be multiple beneficiaries to allow for the possibility, for instance, of leaving one's investment account proceeds equally to three children. Pay-on-death designations such as these supersede any will or trust declaration, so it is critical to be sure that the first spouse is no longer a beneficiary.

An estate planning lawyer may be able to review a financial situation and make recommendations to best provide for one's wishes. It is always important to thoroughly review an estate plan after a significant life event and update as necessary.

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Kramer A. Litvak, P.A.
226 East Government Street
Pensacola, FL 32502

Toll Free: 866-717-9528
Phone: 850-308-1677
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Fax: 850-432-9830
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