The Blended Family and Estate Planning

Jan 22

Estate planning has always been important. Today, the blended family is as prevalent as a traditional family. The blended family and estate planning is very important in today’s world. A :blended family” is a family where at least one of the parents has remarried and there step parents and step children. Estate planning becomes very important in this family arrangement to ensure peace after the parent dies and that the wishes of the decedent are carried out and no one is left out.

As an example, Dad is single, owns a house and wants to leave it to his daughter. He also wants to leave her some family heirlooms. Dad remarries and does not prepare a will, trust or engage in any other estate planning. His new wife, step mom, is never added to the title of the house. He dies without a will. Depending on the value of the house, it could all go to the new wife, Step Mom, and leave the daughter out in the cold. This is because of the law of intestacy and succession. Also the family heirlooms and all other personal property will go to the new wife.

However, if Dad had done some estate planning, a trust or will, he could specify what he wants done with his estate and take care of his blended family. By creating a will or a trust he could provide for his new wife, step mother, as he deems fit, leave his family heirlooms to his daughter and take care of his family obligations. As an example, he could use a will to leave his family heirlooms to the daughter and use a trust to allow his new wife to live in the family home and after she dies the house goes to the daughter. He can also set aside monies in a trust for the daughter to go to school.