Protecting Assets When Your Family is Far From Traditional

10:41 pm Asset Protection, Estate Planning

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving thanksgiving 2927689 375 479 e1386888034691 Protecting Assets When Your Family is Far From TraditionalThe American family gathered around the holiday table as portrayed in the 1943 painting by Norman Rockwell has changed a lot in the last 70 years.  Today, “traditional” families often consist of a stepparent, stepchildren and other relatives interrelated by a different number of marriages.  And the more complex the family relationship, the more complex your estate planning is likely to be.

Here are some tips for protecting the assets of those living in the new norm – otherwise known as blended families:

Put everything in writing.  No longer does a blanket designation cover all the bases for blended families.  If you want to leave assets to someone not related to you by blood, even though you may consider them your children, you will need to include their legal names in your will and other estate planning documents.

Distribute heirlooms while you are alive.  Unless you want to itemize all your belongings and assign names to each in your will, you are probably better off leaving valuables to the people you want to have the while you are alive.  Plus, you get the added benefit of seeing them enjoy those items while you’re still around.

Keep your beneficiaries updated.  Check your beneficiary designations annually on your retirement and investment accounts as well as your life insurance policy.  Do it at tax time when you’re already thinking about money so you don’t forget each year.

Plan for long-term care.  Nothing can deplete assets quicker than having to pay long-term care costs out-of-pocket.  Make a plan for your long-term care, whether it’s purchasing insurance or setting funds aside.

Contact our Orange County law firm for information on planning your California estate.

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