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Estate administration and probate protection in a new marriage

Gone are the days of the Brady Bunch when it seemed that blended families fit together with only minor hiccups that were easily resolved in a 20 minute television show. While it may not be too difficult to figure out where to live and how to delegate parental duties in a newly created family, it may require greater effort to ensure that one has updated plans in place when it comes to estate administration and probate protection. Georgia families may benefit from reviewing their current wills and trusts to ensure that their loved ones are provided for in the manner they desire.

One of the first areas that may require a second look involves beneficiary listings on any current documents one has in place. If these documents have not been updated, then one's former spouse may be the one who is still entitled to receive any assets listed. Ensuring that plans reflect the current circumstances will go a long way in providing peace of mind. In addition, it may be helpful to spell out specifically how any assets are to be distributed.

While updating final planning documents, it is important to ensure that all assets are included. If one does not address any retirement accounts, for instance, when changing beneficiary designations, then whomever was originally named will likely still receive those monies. Another tool that can be considered is the use of living trusts. These trusts are generally much less vulnerable to being contested and allow one to ensure that assets are distributed in the manner one desires.

One more option that one may wish to employ is a prenuptial agreement. This type of document can provide further assurance that children from a previous marriage are protected and that confusion over what happens in the event that the marriage fails is avoided. Georgia families have many tools at their disposal when it comes to planning how one's final wishes are honored. One thing families may wish to keep in mind is that there are professionals experienced in the laws governing estate administration and probate protection who can provide assistance in these important decisions. 

Source:, "Estate planning and blended families", Edward Jones, Dec. 15, 2016

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