Estate planning often gets pushed to the back burner until people are well into their middle-aged years. Blended families in North Carolina and other states are more common in middle age, and you will need to consider ex-spouses and children from previous marriages in your will. This situation can be tricky, but a few proactive steps can do much to manage the situation and honor your financial wishes.
Review your beneficiaries
A divorce decree may dictate that your ex-spouse remains a beneficiary of some assets, such as a retirement account, so you won’t be able to change this. Review your other assets like life insurance, additional retirement plans and annuities. Make necessary removals and additions to reflect your new, blended family. If you cannot change beneficiaries, consider buying extra life insurance and other retirement assets and include your new spouse as a beneficiary.
Update your company’s valuation
If you own a small business, have a business valuation performed or update an existing valuation regularly. Changes in the market and economic shifts can raise or lower your company’s value, which you might need to reflect when planning your estate.
Change powers of attorney
Review any medical or financial powers of attorney that name your ex-spouse or ex-relatives, such as former in-laws. Failing to revoke a power of attorney for these parties leaves them in the position of making important decisions about your health or finances on your behalf if you should become incapacitated.
Updated estate planning that reflects your blended family ensures your estate appropriately honors your wishes for each of your heirs. Reviewing beneficiary designations ensures the ex-spouse does not get assets that should go to your new family. Documenting the current value of your business and updating your powers of attorney can go a long way to help you feel secure that your financial affairs are in order.