Akridge & Balch, P.C. | Attorneys at Law
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Creating an estate plan for your blended family

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Estate Planning

The familiar family structure has changed over the years, and now almost 40% of marriages in the United States have created a blended family, consisting of parents, children from previous relationships, and possibly new children the couple has together.

Estate planning for a blended family can be complicated. However, some strategies can make the process smoother.

Alabama inheritance laws

If you were to die without creating a will, Alabama probate courts would determine the distribution of your assets. When it comes to blended families, it can be tricky. According to state law, if you and your spouse have children together, your spouse will receive the first $50,000 of the estate and half of the balance, with your children receiving the other half. 

However, if you have children from a previous marriage, the estate is split evenly between them and your spouse. Your stepchildren will not receive anything. To ensure fair distribution and avoid potential conflicts, keep the following in mind:

Have open and honest discussions with your spouse to ensure you understand each other’s wishes regarding assets, guardianship and care for each other’s children. Afterward, speak with your children (if age-appropriate) to address their concerns.

In your will, specify what each child and spouse will receive. If there are some family heirlooms, you can make special bequests to your biological children. You also should consider creating a living trust that allows you to transfer assets while maintaining control during your lifetime. Upon your death, the trustee will manage and distribute the assets according to the terms of the trust.

Review your retirement accounts, investments and life insurance policies to ensure they are up-to-date and align with your estate planning goals.

Given the complexities involved in estate planning for extended families and Alabama’s laws, seeking guidance is highly recommended to make sure your estate plan is legally sound and according to your wishes.