Having a blended family often means that individuals get the opportunity to love more people. Often, families consisting of stepparents and stepchildren seem as if they are biologically related because they get along so well. As a result, Colorado stepparents often want to provide something for both their biological children and their stepchildren when they start estate planning.
Even with nuclear families, creating an estate plan can be difficult. It is not uncommon for siblings to not get along or feel like they are entitled to more of their parents’ assets than each other. As a result, parents can have a difficult time determining the best way to divide their assets. This process may be even more complicated if stepchildren are involved.
Fortunately, parents can take the following tips into consideration as they work to create plans that work in the best interests of their loved ones:
- Have a discussion with the family. Talking about estate plans can better ensure that everyone understands the decisions and that no one is caught off guard by those decisions later.
- Think about using a trust. If parents anticipate some type of conflict or if they just want more control over the distribution of assets after their passing, using a trust could allow them to leave specific details regarding who gets what, how much and when.
- If using a trust, pick a reliable trustee. Choosing someone who will not show bias toward biological children or stepchildren and who will carefully follow the instructions of the trust is crucial.
- Try to be fair. Fairness can have a different definition for everyone, and the specific family dynamic can play a role in what could be considered fair.
Estate planning can help the closing of an estate go more smoothly, but if family conflict arises, the process can be delayed. Fortunately, various options exist to help Colorado parents and stepparents find the best ways to reduce the possibility of conflict among their children. If they feel ready to move forward with formal plans, they may want to work with experienced legal professionals to ensure accuracy and enforceability.