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Estate planning issues for stepparents and stepchildren

Estate planning can raise tensions for families in Georgia, especially when blended families with stepparents and stepchildren are involved. Remarriage is perhaps more common than ever before, and people planning for the future may want to consider how they can best balance out the interests of their spouses and their children. This is especially true when two people marry later in life with their own grown children. Many people do not even make a basic will; they may expect to rely on intestate distribution. In other cases, people make a simple will leaving everything to their spouse.

When spouses share their children, this can seem an easy choice for many people, especially if they are also not dealing with substantial wealth. However, blended families may have more to think about. If one spouse passes away and leaves everything to the other, that spouse may be far more likely to will their own assets to their children, leaving the children of the original parent cut out of the picture. These results can occur even in relatively close blended families, especially if people fail to update their wills or do not develop a joint plan after marrying.

In order to best protect a spouse and children, people can consider several options for passing on their assets. They can divide their estate in their will between various members of the family, or they can give their spouse a lifetime interest that then passes to the children. Trusts provide greater flexibility and control and are an excellent choice for people who want to pass wealth over generations or to minor children.

Blended families can avoid tensions and disputes by developing plans to handle assets. An estate planning attorney can work with people to develop a plan and the wills, trusts and powers of attorney to put it into practice.

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