In today’s blog, we offer estate planning tips and strategies for blended families in Houston, with the goal of ensuring that all members of the family are considered. For many of our clients in non-traditional families, there can be important questions about how to make sure nothing goes awry upon one individual’s death. There are important strategies to keep in mind, and ultimately, speaking with an estate planning attorney is the best thing you can to in this situation to make sure your needs are covered.
What is a Blended Family?
A blended family is one that consists of a couple and their children from previous relationships. If you and your spouse have both children and stepchildren, you might have different goals for what you will leave behind for each set of children, which can be difficult to navigate if you have been accustomed to more straightforward methods of estate planning in the past.
What Should Blended Families Keep in Mind During Estate Planning?
For those who die without a will in Texas, their assets will generally go to their spouse. For those who have children from a previous marriage, however, things can look different. If a decedent in a blended family owns property with his or her spouse, part of the property will be left to the surviving spouse, and the other half will go to the children from the decedent’s prior marriage.
Oftentimes, even separate property will be divided between the decedent’s spouse and the decedent’s children from his or her prior marriage. Also of note, stepchildren do not have rights to a decedent’s assets without a will that explicitly states otherwise.
Because intestacy laws (i.e. the laws governing who gets a decedent’s assets if that person did not leave a will) can be complicated for blended families, we recommend speaking to an estate planning attorney who can help you navigate the process. Each family has its own goals, priorities, and dynamics, and leaving the probate courts to divide your property can lead to conflict down the road for your loved ones. By putting together a solid, detailed estate plan that specifically lays out your goals, you can avoid this conflict and make sure everyone you love is protected after you are gone.
Do You Need a Texas Estate Planning Attorney?
At McCulloch & Miller, we begin the estate planning process by getting to know each of our clients and their personal goals. We then work with our clients to devise a strategy that will help them effectuate their goals in the best way possible for them and their loved ones. Our work does not stop until our clients are happy, and we are proud to be trusted legal service providers in the Texas community. For a consultation with a member of our team, give us a call today at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form and have someone get back in touch with you as soon as possible.