How Does Texas Handle Estate Planning for Blended Families?
Estate planning is important for everyone, but particularly so for blended families.
Blended families are a blessing for everyone in them, but they can make legal issues such as estate planning more complex. Texas does not have different probate laws for blended families, so it is even more important to create a formal plan while you still can. Without an estate plan in place, Texas law will apply, and your final wishes may not be fulfilled. If you have a blended family, below are some things to consider about your estate plan.
Texas Law Will Govern Without a Plan in Place
It is always crucial to have an estate plan because without one, the intestacy laws of the state will apply. Under these laws, if you do not have a will when you pass away, and you have children from a previous relationship, your surviving spouse will only receive one-half the interest in any community property. This includes the family home.
While a homestead exemption may apply and would allow the surviving spouse to remain in the property, the children would still own a share of the home. If the home was ever sold, the surviving spouse would only receive a portion of the proceeds and the chidden would receive the rest.
Leaving Everything to Your Spouse
It is not uncommon for people to create what is sometimes called an “I Love You” plan in which they leave everything to their surviving spouse. Upon the person’s death, the spouse can then do whatever they wish with the assets, and even change their own estate plan. For this reason, if you want to leave certain assets to your stepchildren or other relatives, you should include them in your will and name them specifically. It is the only way to guarantee that your beneficiaries will inherit what you had intended.
Revocable Living Trusts are Often an Option
When you create an estate plan that is largely based upon a will, it must go through the probate court, and those proceedings become a matter of public record. A revocable living trust can put a plan in place and avoid placing that plan in public record.
Call Our Estate Planning Lawyers in Lake Jackson, Brazoria County Today
If you have a blended family and need to create an estate plan, it is important to speak to a lawyer before creating your estate plan. At Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, our Brazoria County estate planning lawyers in Lake Jackson will provide the sound legal advice you need, and ensure your estate plan includes the most important elements to protect your family. Call us today at 979.297.2854 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.