Blended families are beautiful families to be a part of, we discuss the perks time and time again. But the reality is that there are also complications that one must consider. There is the issue of how to get the family to feel like a family and how to discipline your step kids. But beyond that you will also encounter another issue, which is how to go about writing your will or will writing for blended families.
We know just how difficult this situation can become, so in this post we wanted to discuss with you how to go about estate planning if you are part of a blended family and want to take care of everyone within your blended family situation.
The best thing that we can recommend is getting proper legal advice. In the end, you may want to write a simple will on your own using a will writing kit, but as this is a tricky situation overall, it’s best to be fully prepared with specialist advice.
Consider your family members
This may sound like a very simple thing to do, after all, you know who your family is. But sometimes it can get a bit more detailed than that. For example, if you are on your second marriage and you came into it with your own children then you need to also consider if your current spouse also had a previous marriage with children of their own. Or perhaps only one of you comes into the marriage with children. Are any of those children adults?
All of these are considerations should help you realise the big picture and who your immediate family members are. This may help you determine how you will write your will.
Complications can arise when it comes to will writing for blended families. There are some cases where a surviving spouse doesn’t disperse the assets equally between children and stepchildren in the hope that their living biological parent will eventually leave them an inheritance. They may not see it as fair that the children from their partner’s first marriage will be inheriting from their own bio parent whilst the children that the couple has in common won’t have that financial advantage. This is why it’s so important to discuss the unique needs of a family sooner rather than later.
You may leave everything in your will to your spouse, but if you aren’t seeing eye to eye with how your current partner feels about the dispersement of the assets, you may not want to do that. Your partner can change the will once you are deceased, so if there is mistrust to begin with, consider other options.
Create a living trust
One of the ways that you can make sure that your assets go to the right people is to create a trust. A trust is an arrangement where money or assets are held by someone for the later benefit of another. A living trust is a good idea as it will allow you to benefit from the assets, such as living in the family home, for example, but once you pass away the home will go to the beneficiaries that you choose. This could be your adult children, your step children, or even your former spouse. It’s all up to you.
What if there’s a prenup?
Whether you agree or disagree with a prenup, or prenuptial agreement, it’s a reality for many couples. If you or your new spouse have one you may wonder what takes precedence, the prenup or the will?
In this case the prenup will take priority over the will. A prenup will have specific stipulations or specific clauses that can be put in place to protect the wealthier partners children’s inheritance for example. Perhaps one partner doesn’t want his/her entire estate to be taken into account when the new couple have children. Whatever the family situations may be, the prenup has priority over the last will and testament.
There are so many things to consider when it comes to will writing for blended families and financial decisions for your blended family. From what is considered community property, to what happens with the biological children of the first spouse, or what to do with child support payments that may be pending. You need to consider all of these things when you have a new partner and a new marriage. This is a common scenario within blended families, and sometimes issues will arise. The best way to prevent this is to keep things as organised as possible when you are starting a new life with a second wife or a second husband … or beyond.