When a couple decides to make a life together and form a new, blended family that includes children from one or both previous relationships, what lies ahead can be both a rewarding and a challenging experience. The interests of a new spouse and child can create conflict with a parent’s or grandparent’s desire to provide fairly for children from a previous relationship. Even with a harmonious blended-family life, a lack of planning may lead to unexpected difficulties. Talking the issues out when parents are still alive can help. And planning is crucial.
Blended families without an estate plan may run the risk of the following scenarios:
- Unintentionally under-providing for a beneficiary.
- Failing to coordinate proper guardianship for younger children.
- Setting up a potential contest from a disgruntled family member.
- Providing inheritances that are “equal” but are not necessarily “fair.”
Estate Planning Strategies
At a minimum, each spouse should have a Will. Otherwise, assets will more than
likely be distributed to heirs in a manner differing to what the deceased would
have wanted. A much better approach is to use a Trust, which would provide for the surviving spouse and still protect a portion of the assets for children from a previous relationship.
The Key to Successful Blended Family Estate Planning
Guidance from an experienced attorney and staff will help you communicate and determine your goals. Once defined, your goals will be met by creating and implementing the best estate plan strategies that provide for each spouse and protect the interests of all beneficiaries.
If you have any questions or would like for our firm to assist you with Blended Family or other estate planning needs, please contact our office at (919) 844-7993.