American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys was established in 1992. Mr. Holmgren has been an active member since 1995. Click here to visit his Academy website.

Long Life in Okinawa

Take a moment to watch this video from CNN on the amazing health and long life of Okinawans.

Seinfeld Has An Answer for Everything

In this classic Seinfeld episode, Jerry and Kramer discuss living wills. Although humorous, it makes a great point about the importance of this key document.


Utah's New Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT)

Effective May 2013, the DAPT statute (or DAPT law) provides a powerful way to protect assets from various creditors and especially from lawsuits.

CLICK HERE for full, printable article.

Complications in Estate Planning
Posted on Jul. 25, 2012

While second marriages are not unusual, the financial and estate plan­ning issues created by a blended family can be very perplexing. The key is to take proactive steps to ensure that children from a deceased spouse’s prior marriage are protected, that the surviving spouse from the current marriage is protected and that there is not a legal feud between the two.

Here are a few of the financial, legal and estate planning is­sues to keep in mind:

  • Expenses and Ownership. If you and your new spouse commingle income and assets, it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to get those funds to those you intend to have them.  There are time-tested tools to guarantee that your wishes are carried out, but the solutions are not simple.  Anyone who tells you that there is a one-size-fits-all solution is not telling you the whole story.

  • Community Property or Common Law? In a community property state, whatever you bring to the marriage or re­ceive individually as a gift or inheritance remains yours, but anything else earned or acquired during the marriage is community property. In a common law state, ownership is controlled by titles, registrations, or ownership docu­ments. The laws in some common-law states “act” like community property property states even though, technically, they’re not.  Our office can help you develop an appropriate es­tate plan for our state, and if you own property out of state, help you plan, if necessary, for both forms of ownership.

  • Remarriage Protection. If your spouse gets remarried af­ter your death, your assets may get commingled with his or her new spouse.  If that happens, your children from a prior marriage are not protected.  There are estate-planning tools to protect your children – not laws, but legal tools.

  • Inheritance Timing. What happens to inheritances for the children of the first spouse to die? Do they wait for the surviving spouse to die? They may, unless you set up a Trust that stipulates your intentions. Plus, if you pre-decease your new spouse and you own assets jointly, you may unintentionally disinherit your children from a prior marriage. Your new spouse may then get the final say over who inherits jointly owned assets.

  • Home Use. In a blended family, will the surviving spouse be allowed to live in the home? If so, how long can he or she remain in the home? And who pays the expenses? Many couples put the home in a Trust for the benefit of the sur­viving spouse.

If you created your estate plan prior to your remarriage, re­vise that plan with your new family in mind.

Creating an estate plan for a blended family can be complicated – but it is not impossible.  Like anything worth protecting, it may take some time and effort, but the sooner you get the correct pieces in places, the sooner you can have that assurance of knowing that you’re prepared for whatever happens to you.

Post Comment:



About Randy


I help clients prepare for their unexpected death or disability. Using legal documents such as Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney, LLCs and more, we can ensure that your hard-earned assets go to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way–and are managed by someone who is competent, skilled and trustworthy.

I also help clients identify their non-monetary legacy (values, wisdom, principles, beliefs, life experiences, family name and a commitment to certain charitable causes) and how to effectively pass that legacy on to family and others.

Take time to consider the value of your life to others. Don't miss opportunities to leave a greater legacy than just money.

Important Resources