Articles Tagged with Blended Families

No will is the same; however, some wills are more complicated than others because of family dynamics and related situations. One family dynamic that makes a will slightly more complex is when a blended family is involved. A blended family—made up of families that come together over time with new relationships—often requires navigating more family dynamics to discern who an individual will leave their assets to. This may involve updating the will as relationships change. Below are some of the most common challenges faced by blended families during the estate planning process—along with how to avoid these issues.

How to Divide the Assets in an Estate Plan

For many blended families, it can be difficult for the person drafting the will—called the testator—to decide who to leave their assets to. They will likely want to provide for their family, and this family may include stepchildren, children from a previous marriage, and other close relatives. Therefore, it might be challenging to decide how much to give to each—especially if some loved ones are either not legally connected to the testator or if family members do not get along.

7.5.18With about half of all marriages ending in divorce, second marriages and blended families have become the new normal in many communities. Estate planning for a blended family requires three-dimensional thinking for all concerned.

An article from The University Herald, “The Challenges and Complexities of Estate Planning for Blended Families, ” clarifies some of the major issues that blended families face. When creating or updating an estate plan, the parents need to set emotions aside and focus on their overall goals.

Estate plans should be reviewed and updated, whenever there’s a major life event, like a divorce, marriage or the birth or adoption of a child. If you don’t do this, it can lead to disastrous consequences after your death, like giving all your assets to an ex-spouse.

4.3.19It seems like families need to spend more time discussing estate plans and their finances, especially if they are blended families, to prevent major disruptions.

For the second consecutive year, family conflict was named as the biggest treat to estate planning by estate planning and elder law attorneys and other professionals attending this year’s annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.

The survey, conducted by TD Wealth, found that nearly half (46%) of respondents said that family conflict was the biggest threat to estate planning in 2019, followed by market volatility (24%) and tax reform (14%).

Blended familiesCouples planning to blend families often have to make financial arrangements that respect previous relationships with ex-spouses and their families. Issues range from childcare and eldercare to potentially complex matters involving businesses, investment assets and real estate. That’s why involving trained experts in stepfamily financial planning is a must.

Blending families can get complicated quite quickly when dealing with finances and the like, so you should speak with an experienced estate planning attorney on these matters.

The Kenyon Leadergives us a nice checklist of issues and solutions potential spouses and partners should consider in a recent article titled Yours, mine and ours: planning step-family finances.

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