Estate planning to avoid fights in a blended family

Estate planning to avoid fights in a blended family

| Aug 3, 2020 | Estate Planning |

There are many different factors that can complicate estate administration and planning. Complicated assets, legal ownership of a business and unusual family dynamics are all issues that could make planning your estate more difficult.

Blended families are a common source of conflict and confusion when it comes to leaving behind a legacy and distributing your assets to the people you love. Taking the right steps now as you plan your estate could drastically reduce the likelihood of contention between your children and your new spouse that is not their biological parent after your death.

Protect your spouse without disinheriting your children

One of the biggest problems that people fail to consider when planning for an estate after remarrying is how their spouse’s inheritance and rights could impact their children and their inheritance. If you don’t plan properly, the assets that your spouse receives could diminish the inheritance that your children receive.

What’s worse, it’s also possible that those assets may not pass back to your children when your spouse dies but rather to your spouse’s children from a previous marriage or a subsequent one after your death. Taking great care in how you plan and structure your estate, especially when it comes to major assets like real estate, can reduce conflict by protecting the inheritance of your children and the security of your spouse.

Talk to people about your preferences before you die

Disappointment or surprise with the terms in the last will could lead a spouse or children to bring a challenge they otherwise would not, especially if they feel like your new spouse took advantage of your or influenced your last will. The more transparent you are with your wishes, the less surprising anyone will find the terms in your last will.

Consider creating a trust

The truth is, that no matter how carefully you plan, it’s still possible that your children could allege undue influence or fraud and try to challenge your estate. The same could be true of your spouse if they are unhappy with the terms you leave behind.

Creating a trust or possibly several of them can be a way to reduce conflicts and retain more direct control over the administration of your estate and the distribution of your assets.

William G. Peterson
FindLaw