Your family is blended if you or your partner is not the adoptive or natural parent of at least one of the children. For example, yours is a blended family if your partner has a child from a previous marriage. Blended families tend to have competing interests that lead to complications with estate planning. Here are some of the complications blended families face with estate planning.
Inheritance delay can occur if one parent dies, but their children cannot inherit their parent's estate because the stepparent is still alive. For example, if you have kids from a previous marriage, you may wish to leave your estate to your current spouse with the understanding that they will pass on the estate to the kids. Upon your demise, the kids might resent their stepparent due to the inheritance delay.
The prospect of disinheritance is real if you leave everything to your partner, and you are the first to go. In such a case, you obviously won't have control over your partner's decisions after your demise. Your partner might even fail to pass your assets to your children, or they may only give the children some token inheritance.
There is also a risk that, even if you communicate your wishes before your demise, your partner might not follow them after your demise. Say you came into the marriage with more assets than your partner, and you wish for your children to get the majority of the assets. Or maybe your current partner's children, who are adults, are relatively wealthier than your kids, and you don't feel they need the inheritance as much. In both cases, your partner might still leave most of the assets to their biological or adopted kids than to your kids.
Disputes over Authority
Lastly, the issue of who should be in charge of the family estate may also crop up, particularly if you don't have a clear and legal designation of the point person. Your biological or adopted children may feel they have more rights than your partner, and your partner may also feel the same. The dispute can trigger ugly fights that can even make its way into the courtroom.
The above are just a few examples of problems your blended family may experience after your demise. The good news is that you can avoid such problems if you plan your estate properly. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you can use things like trusts, post-nuptial agreements, and even contracts to preempt the complications. Contact an estate planning attorney for guidance on how to proceed. To learn more, visit sites like https://www.linskylaw.com.
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