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Estate planning important for divorced families

In our society, the frequency of divorce and remarriage introduces family dynamics that were mostly unheard of a couple decades ago. According to an article by USA Today, more than 40 percent of American adults have at least one step-relative in their families. Fifty years ago, financial planning was as simple as a mother and father putting together a budget that paid for their home, food and other daily expenses.

Budgets for today's families often include child support and spousal support, and long-term planning needs to cover individuals from at least two households. With so many people in the picture, making sure everyone is covered can be complicated. Some financial consultants in New Jersey suggest estate planning might be the most effective way to make sure everyone's needs are met.

When people think about estate planning, they often picture millionaires or celebrities. Some people have the misconception that they are not wealthy enough to need a will or trust. However, creating an estate plan is not just about dividing your wealth or the family heirlooms. It's also about making sure your children are protected in the event of a death or health emergency.

It can be unnerving to imagine situations in which estate planning might come into play, but it is prudent. For parents who share custody of their children, a clear plan regarding what will happen if one parent dies can eliminate unnecessary stress. USA Today stresses the importance of thinking about the situation for whoever is left behind.

With so many activities that need immediate attention, it's easy to postpone creating an estate plan. However, planning ahead helps ensure you will have the options you need to meet your family's needs.

Source: USA Today, "Blended families require financial planning," Matt Krantz, 6 February 2011

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