Estate Planning for Blended Families
June 23, 2020
Hi everyone, I’m Jessica Rafferty, an attorney at QuatriniRafferty, and I practice in the areas of estate planning and estate administration. Today I want to talk about a topic that affects a lot of people and that is “How can estate planning help with blended families?” And when I say a blended family I’m talking about when one or more people come together in a new relationship and one or both people have children from a prior relationship and then those people may go on to have children of their own. So, in order to kind of tell you about how estate planning can help, I’m going to tell you about some of the pitfalls. And for this situation I’m going to just assume that you’re the one coming into the relationship with children and there aren’t any other children, just to simplify things.
So, the first scenario would be if you and your new spouse create wills, leaving everything to one another, and you make no mention of your children. And although that might seem like a logical thing to do, it oftentimes can leave a little bit of a feeling of resentment from the children because they just feel like they have been left out and sort of forgotten. So, in order to prevent that situation a lot of people will talk to their new spouse and say, “Upon my death you will receive all of the assets, but then upon your death, pass all of those assets to my children.” In theory that’s a good thing, however there are some problems. First problem is if the children know about that they can then start to monitor the spending of your spouse after you’ve passed away. Second situation that can occur, and oftentimes this is sort of dependent upon the relationship between your spouse and your kids, where the kids are no longer seeing your spouse after your death and your spouse then decides later on in life that they’re going to omit your children from their will and pass the assets to their family members. A third scenario can occur if you do not remarry but you’re now in a new relationship and if you do not plan at all to make any concessions for your new partner upon your passing, depending on how your assets are titled, your new partner may end up with nothing. And they can even risk being kicked out of the home that you’re living in together depending upon the deed and depending upon their relationship with your children. I know none of those things sound appealing and I’m not telling you that to scare you, but I am telling you that because we can prevent that, and that’s the purpose of estate planning.
You know, if you sit down and talk with me we can talk about the details of your family, the dynamics of your family, and we can create a plan that take into account everyone and then you can feel peace of mind knowing everyone is cared for and that everyone will get along after your passing, which I think is what most people want. You know, you don’t want to leave a situation where it’s going to just breed conflict and that’s why we’re here. So, if you would like to speak with me, I am more than happy to talk with you, and we can come up with a plan together that will give you that peace of mind knowing that everyone you love is cared for. Thanks!