Poor estate planning and overly simple Wills or Trusts can be inadequate to protect children in blended families

If you are part of a blended family, the importance of thorough estate planning is enormous. Setting aside some time to create clear legacy plans can keep your family out of conflict, especially during emotional events such as the incapacity or loss of the senior generation.

A blended family is the result of second or more marriages, in which one or more of the parties comes with children from a prior marriage. Re-married couples may go on to have more children in their new marriage as well.

Blended Families, once considered non-traditional families are swiftly becoming the norm. About 52% of married couples (or unmarried couples who live together) have a stepkin relationship of some kind, and 4 in 10 new marriages involve remarriage. So, clearly, this is no longer non-traditional but quite traditional, though our laws about what happens if you become incapacitated or die are still very much based on the traditional.”

When thinking ahead, begin with understanding where potential conflicts could arise when you have a blended family.

Consider Your Loved One's Future

Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly used estate planning documents, and they form the foundation of most estate plans. While both documents are legal vehicles designed to distribute your assets to your loved ones upon your death, the way in which they work is quite different. You can learn more about the two documents and how they work, read more about Wills and Trusts. 

If you have children from a prior marriage, and you become incapacitated or pass away, leaving everything to your new spouse or partner is likely to produce some conflict. Whether expressly or quietly, your children may feel unloved, forgotten, or resentful.

This might seem avoidable by making your children the inheritance recipients after your spouse passes away, but it doesn’t always alleviate the issues in play. Your children may feel the need to monitor your partner’s use of your assets during their life, leading to ongoing tensions.

Conversely, you may have a partner who is not legally planned for, and you would want him or her to inherit some or all of your assets. As things may currently stand, your entire estate may go to your children from a prior marriage. This could create a reality where your current partner even gets kicked out of the house you share if something happens to you before your plan is updated.

You can often avoid all of this by having clear plans in place that have been discussed with your children and your new spouse or partner. In fact, the estate planning process can often build stronger bonds with those you love! These are exactly the processes that Artisan Law facilitates to bring help to blended families.

Get Started with Your Estate Planning

If you are the child of a parent who has remarried or re-partnered, you may want to bring these issues to your parent’s attention.

The topic of estate planning is often hard to bring up, as no one likes to think about mortality and loss. Discussing finances may also be an area your family struggles to be open about. But the long-term damage that can be caused by a lack of planning is far worse.

That’s why we strongly encourage you to take action sooner rather than later!

If you are ready to create a well-thought-out estate plan for your blended family, start by sitting down with me. We can help you plan for the needs of your unique family and ensure everything and everyone you love is provided for as you wish – including you! Our estate planning process guides you to protect and preserve what matters most.

Shaina Jones Magrone, Esq. helps individuals and couples formulate estate plans that will bring them peace of mind and enable them to enjoy their golden years.  Contact Artisan Law about reviewing your estate plan.