Entering a new family is complicated and it gets even more complicated when the people in the relationship have families in their previous relationships. We cannot even begin to stress how much work goes into building a new family with your new spouse but if you are entering this with existing baggage, it might just be time to get your affairs in order.
The role of a step mom or step dad is one of the most complicated roles in the household. Which is why it is important to simplify your life so that you can focus on being a good mom or dad to your kids from any previous relationship as well as a good step parent to any new step kids that may be in the picture now.
Update outdated beneficiaries:
One of the first things you have to fix are the beneficiaries of your various accounts. At the top of your list should be your life insurance policy. Should anything happen to you, you need to make sure that your benefits go to the right people. If your ex-husband is the beneficiary named in your policy, you might want change it and designate your children as the primary beneficiaries instead, depending on their age. You can also change the beneficiary to your current spouse if you trust them enough with the care of your children. The other option would be to set up a trust this way you can be certain that the funds form the life insurance policy go to the people who you choose.
Since we are on the topic of life insurance, find out if you are covered at work. Some companies offer free group life insurance for their employees. You might have filled out paperwork naming your ex-spouse as your beneficiary in case of your death. Make sure to update the information in your policy to avoid them not using the funds for what you intended.
Now, if your assets are tucked away in trust funds, you might need to hire a lawyer to properly apply the necessary changes. Depending on what kind of trust you have, this might require a special meeting of the board of trustees. Either way you need to ensure sure the documents are up to date.
This is also true for your last will and testament. It would be wise to make sure that this updated as early as possible. The same goes for your bank accounts and investments. You need to clearly designate who you trust your assets with in-case of your untimely demise. It is hard enough to move on after a family member’s death but when you have an extended family that includes your step family and your children from a previous marriage, the pain and confusion piles up on one another.
Update person to notify:
Aside from your finances, you also have to consider the vital information. Many people forget to update the “person to notify” info when they get into a new relationship. When an emergency does occur, they might call the wrong person. This might cause hurt feelings with your current spouse or it can cause friction between your ex and his current partner.
It’s time to consider new life insurance:
With a new family comes new needs. So this is defiantly a great time to look at the polices you currently have as well as any future needs that you may want to protect. Your old life insurance policies could be just like your Ex… outdated and not the right fit.
So it could be the perfect time to get any old policies together and figure out what you really need. This is something we can help with. We can do a needs analysis as well as some comparative shopping to see if there are better life insurance rates available.
Now that you have updated your finances and information, it may be time to look at the schedule of your step family and your ex’s. The dynamics of having a multiple families get even more confusing when the holidays come in. Who stays with whom during Christmas and thanksgiving? Do you need to be at an ex in-law’s event when your children are invited.
For situations like this, it is important to maintain a healthy working relationship with your ex. You need to communicate and, if necessary, compromise to get a good schedule that both of you can be happy with. This not only helps lessen the stress on your current relationships, it also lessens the stress that you children and stepchildren will go through.
There are so many other things that you need to consider but it is important to start simple. When you are done with the simple things, you can then concentrate on the harder parts. Being a stepparent is already a hard job to do, don’t make it harder by having petty stuff getting in the way of being the best stepparent that you can be.