If you want to preserve your wealth and ensure that it passes to your loved ones in a way that you see fit, then you need a detailed and holistic estate plan. That might sound easy enough, but a lot of people think that they can forego estate planning if they just want to leave their assets to their immediate family. But this can quickly become problematic, especially if you’re part of a blended family.
Illinois’ intestacy laws
If you pass away without an estate plan, then state law will dictate who will receive your assets. If you have a spouse and children, then your spouse will inherit half of your estate and your children will inherit the other half. But issues can arise if you remarry and have children from a previous marriage.
Estate planning problems with blended families
This is because without an estate plan specifying otherwise, your spouse could do whatever he or she wants with the half of your estate that he or she inherits. This means that, while your children might inherit half of your estate, they could be completely cut out of the other half, even once your subsequent spouse passes away. Also, the intestate laws don’t necessarily provide for your step-children, so if you want them to inherit then you should specify as much in an estate plan.
What can you do about it?
Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your children’s future in the hands of the state or your second or third spouse. For example, you can specify in your estate plan that you spouse is to receive a certain portion of your estate with the remainder of it to pass to your children upon your spouse’s death. Or you can simply dictate that your children or spouse get more or less of your estate as you see fit.
What’s important to remember is that estate planning, though it may seem daunting, is entirely customizable, which gives most people an enormous sense of control and relief. So, if you’re wondering what you can do to protect your assets and the futures of your loved ones, then it might be time to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you craft the detailed and thorough estate plan that you need.