The days of “Leave it to Beaver” are far behind us. According to the Pew Research Center, just 46% of children live in a household with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. In 1960, 73% of children fit this description. In 1980, the number was 61%. The rise of so-called blended families — that is, families including children from a previous marriage of one or both parents, has shifted the estate planning paradigm for large segments of the population. Couples on their second marriages must exercise caution in how they dispose of their property, some of which might be subject to a divorce judgment. Moreover, prenuptial agreements often contain provisions relating to estate planning. Failure to take such provisions into account can destroy the prenuptial agreement. Lastly, blended families will want to ensure that the surviving spouse does not disinherit stepchildren.
A revocable living trust is the best tool to address the aforementioned concerns. Unlike a simple will, a revocable living trust can be drafted to restrict what the surviving spouse and other beneficiaries do with their inheritance. In addition, revocable living trusts are generally more difficult to challenge and overturn. This is because the administration and distribution of a revocable living trust is usually done privately rather than in the court system.
Estate planning is something everyone should do. However, for blended families, the need is only heightened. By consulting with a Norman, Oklahoma estate planning attorney, you can attain peace of mind.