Estate planning can be rather complex for anyone depending on the scope of your assets, the way they are positioned, and the specific nature of your wishes. This is why it is always going to be advisable to retain the services of an estate planning attorney when you are making preparations for the future.
To be able to plan effectively you must be aware of all the tools that are available to you and know how and when you should use them. Estate planning attorneys are faced with every possible scenario over the years, and when they examine your situation a plan starts to formulate within their minds immediately based on their past experiences. The layperson would have no reason to have these experiences. By the same token estate planning attorneys routinely engage the services of experienced professionals in other fields when they need assistance, and this is simply the way of things.
So the reality is that an estate planning attorney is almost always going to be able to provide you with value regardless of your situation. But when you are part of a blended family estate planning takes on an added level of complexity that really requires the assistance of a legal professional. Most people who get divorced and remarried have children from previous marriages, and making sure they are provided for while you simultaneously make provisions for your new spouse can take some careful planning.
One way that this is done is through the creation of a prenuptial agreement that delineates the property of the people entering the marriage. You could then fund a QTIP or Qualified Terminable Interest Property trust. These trusts are designed to provide for your spouse after you pass away for the duration of his or her life. But when you create the trust you name the beneficiary, so your surviving spouse has no control over where that remainder goes.
It is always a good idea to retain the services of an estate planning attorney when you are shaping your legacy, but when you are part of a blended family it is all the more important.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.