Blended families often create new joys for both the parents and the children. However, bringing new members into your Oklahoma family also brings new challenges for your financial plans. Specifically, a new blended family should involve updates to your estate plan.
When you become a blended family, your current spouse and stepchildren do not automatically become your beneficiaries. Estate planning after a new marriage should involve updating your beneficiaries.
Examples of accounts that require a beneficiary update include:
- Roth IRA
- Checking and savings accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Annuity funds
Powers of attorney
When you start a new family, you should make everyone aware of your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated. Whether from an accident or a long-term illness, everyone in your family should understand what type of medical treatment you want to allow.
More formally, you need to prepare a medical and financial power of attorney in the event that you do become incapacitated. While your new spouse may take the role as your attorney-in-fact, it might also be an older child. Everyone in your blended family should know the identity of the person you choose as your medical and financial power of attorney.
At this point in your life, both you and your new spouse have likely worked very hard and have the assets to prove it. If you want to determine exactly who receives those assets, you need to update your will. Altering your will may include your stepchildren or it may require you to specify that only your biological children may inherit items of sentimental value. Regardless of your decisions, if you do not update the will, probate court may determine how to split your assets after your death.
Communication plays an important role in estate planning for blended families. Not all decisions may seem fair, but a frank conversation will help to ease the discomfort that your family may feel about your plans.