If you have a blended family, you are in the majority of families in America
today, and you have some special estate planning considerations you must
address if you want to ensure the best possible outcome for your loved ones.
A blended family is where one or both spouses have children from a previous
marriage, or the children are grown and either they or their spouses have
their own children from a previous marriage.
Here are some examples of common estate planning issues that may arise
in blended families:
Disinheritance of children: Tom and Lisa both have children from a previous marriage. Tom has two
boys and Lisa has two girls. Tom and Lisa both have wills that give everything
to the surviving spouse and then to the kids after the death of the surviving
spouse. However, after Tom passes away, Lisa moves closer to her daughters
and forms a very strong bond with them in her remaining years, but grows
distant from Tom’s kids. She eventually decides to change her will
to leave almost all of her estate to her daughters and very little to
Delays in inheritance that lead to litigation: Frank, a man in his late fifties, marries Sheryl, a young woman in her
early thirties. Frank has two grown children from a previous marriage
who are close to Sheryl’s age. Frank creates a trust that provides
income for Sheryl during her lifetime, but ultimately transfers all his
assets to his children once Sheryl dies. After Frank dies, his children
become impatient and resentful that they must wait so long to inherit
the trust assets. They sue Sheryl over excessive trust distributions and
the family is embroiled in bitter litigation for years.
Long term care of step-parent uses up child’s inheritance: Mary has adult children from a previous marriage and gets remarried to
Joe, an older man in his 70’s. Mary has considerable assets but
is concerned that Joe will need long term medical care, which would use
up much of Mary’s wealth, leaving little for her children’s
Each of these scenarios has some sensitive estate planning issues that
require the counsel and expertise of an experienced and trusted estate
planning attorney. If handled correctly, you can rest assured that your
blended family will have the best chance of avoiding long and bitter conflict
or financial and legal hassles.
Obtain the high-quality legal representation you need – contact lead
attorney Hannah Sargent today for your free consultation in Alameda County
and man years of experience!