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Blended families and estate planning

Financial planning for blended families in Pennsylvania can be more complicated than it is for other types of families. When two formerly single parents get married, there are often ex-spouses on both sides that are still in the financial picture. Parents in blended families may also have to make several changes to accommodate the needs of their new spouse and stepchildren.

Two parents who are deciding to blend their households may decide to combine all of their financial assets or keep some of their assets separate. As early as possible, spouses in a blended family should be honest with each other about their financial circumstances. If one spouse has a large amount of debt or a financial obligation like child support, this information may be crucial while deciding things like whether or not to have a joint bank account.

Blended families will also have to decide how their assets will be distributed in the event of one spouse's death. In addition to drafting a new will, a spouse in a blended family should check all of their financial accounts to make sure that their new spouse is designated as the beneficiary. If these changes are not made, the proceeds from an individual's life insurance policy could end up going to their ex-spouse, and their new spouse could be obligated to pay taxes on the transaction.

An estate planning attorney may be able to help two parents who have decided to combine families. Because finances in a blended family can be complex, an attorney may help spouses to gain a better understanding of all of the options they have for distributing assets from their combined estate. An attorney may also help spouses to determine the best strategies for reducing potential tax obligations for their heirs.

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