As the holidays approach, the idea of taking care of our family means more to us. Having our loved ones get together for a nice meal and gift giving leaves us with great memories.
However, when we think of the "traditional family" we think of a husband and wife and their two or three children, who all live together in one home until the kids become adults and move out. Even though there are still families in this situation, there are many people who have changed that concept. With social norms changing and people living longer, the family structure has been altered dramatically.
Now we have parents raising children who are not theirs, biologically speaking. Think of the old Brady Bunch TV show where two parents who had their own kids remarried. Of course, on the show everything was great. The fact that Marcia was not Mike Brady's biological daughter was never brought up as a topic.
There are those people who do love their step-kids or other children who have been brought into the home, like nieces and nephews . I know of one person in particular who is raising his wife's nephew because his sister-in-law had a drug problem.
There are those who begrudgingly raise a spouse's children from a previous relationship to "keep the peace". And when problems arise, the kids want to move back to their other biological parent or some other option. In other words, tensions can, and in some cases, do get escalated to the point where children are going back and forth between parents or other adult family members.
With all of this in mind, it's important to keep an even keel when it comes to estate planning with a blended family as it creates a whole set of issues. A will may seem like a good way of planning, but in fact, life insurance could be a better option to make sure those who are intended to benefit will be taken care of in the eventual death of a parent. And in the flexibility of naming and changing beneficiaries, as well as listing primary and contingent beneficiaries, makes it incredibly easy to take care of the family's estate planning needs.
As an attorney friend of mine says, "A life insurance policy trumps a will because it's a legally binding contract." The "yours, mine and ours" scenario can be very confusing for most families when it comes to estate planning, and life insurance can be the answer that is needed. It can help avoid a long and drawn out estate process and keep the peace within a family.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient, and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!