Blended families can be full of conflict, and stepparents and their stepchildren have notoriously uneasy relationships. You may worry about what will happen to your assets and your children after you’re gone if you leave their stepparent in charge of everything.
There are steps you can take to protect your children’s inheritance and make sure their needs are met, even if your current spouse (their stepparent) and they have a falling out in the future – without leaving your spouse bereft of what they need. Here are some options:
Use a trust
One of the most effective ways to protect your biological children’s inheritance is to create a comprehensive estate plan that includes a trust. A trust can provide a level of control and flexibility that a will cannot, and it’s very possible to make sure that your children (and their children) are financially protected.
Use life insurance
Another option is to get life insurance. If you name your children as beneficiaries, they’ll have a source of income that’s separate from the rest of your estate. This can be especially helpful if you have assets like real estate or a business that might take a while to sell.
Use a life estate
Maybe your home was the home your child grew up in, so you want it to pass to them eventually – but you don’t want your spouse to be pushed out of what is now their home, either. A life estate can allow your spouse to live there until death. At that point, your child becomes the full owner.
By taking the time to create an estate plan that reflects your wishes and intentions, you can help ensure that your loved ones are provided for after you pass away.