Yours, mine and ours … in today’s modern family, it’s oh so common. The blended family is the product of 2nd (or more) marriages, in which one or more of the parties comes with children from a prior marriage. And then, they may even go on to have children together.
If you have or are part of a blended family, it’s important to understand how estate planning could be exactly what you need to keep your family out of conflict and in love, both during life, in the event of incapacity, and when one or more of the senior generation (read: parents) dies.
Let’s begin with an understanding of where potential conflicts could arise when you have a blended family.
If you have children from a prior marriage, and you become incapacitated or die, leaving everything to your new spouse or partner, there is almost certain to be some conflict (whether spoken or not) between your children and new spouse.
Your children may feel unloved, forgotten or resentful.
You may think that this can be avoided by leaving everything to your new spouse or partner, and then on his or her death, to your children. But this too could set up a scenario where your children feel the need to monitor your spouse/partner’s use of your assets, during his or her life. And that may not be what you want.
Conversely, you may have a partner or spouse that you have not planned for, who you would want to inherit some or all of your assets. But, as things stand right now, 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 avoid all of this (and even use the estate planning process to build stronger bonds) by having clear planning in place that has been discussed with your children and your new spouse or partner. We facilitate this as part of the planning process for all blended families.
If you are the child of a parent who has remarried or re-partnered, after a divorce or death, of your other parent, you may want to bring these issues to your parent’s attention.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about your estate plan, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.