With the current high rates of divorce and remarriage—even into the retirement years—many blended families have a lot to consider when they create their estate plans. This article entitled “Inheritance plans for blended families present many options” considers the situations of Alice and Jack, 70 year old common law partners who wonder what is the best way to provide for each other, as well as children they each have from previous marriages, should one of them pass away.

Blended families now have more options than ever when it comes to creating estate plans. All of these options ensure that each family—each person—will have the opportunity to achieve their goals; but be careful, many of the strategies that sound ideal on the surface will have hidden consequences down the road.

Take the spousal trust as an example: “Jack is thinking about having his lawyer draw up a new will to include a spousal trust to hold his investments. If he dies first, the trust could provide cash flow for Alice for her lifetime. Ultimately the capital would pass to his children after Alice dies. Such a trust can defer tax on capital gains and allow some investment income to be taxed at the lowest bracket rate.” But there’s more to it than what is seen on the surface. “What if Jack’s children have to wait 20 or more years to inherit? Indeed, Jack’s children may never inherit anything if Alice has the power to dip into the trust capital.”

Luckily, a knowledgeable and experienced estate planner can not only help you look into the future to help you see what long-term effects of each planning option might have, but also offer a wide variety of options, many of which can be tweaked and customized to fit your blended family’s unique needs.

When it comes to protecting your family it’s wise to consider all your options… and never settle for less than the best.