Blended Families- Complications With Wills
Learn the steps to follow so that your children are not left to the mercy of God after a divorce...
How would you like your ex-spouse to inherit your house, your bank accounts and your retirement benefits, although
you would have them for your children? And what would happen if their father’s will included his brother although
he had promised the weekend home to you?
These problems related to inheritances occur more often in blended families, when the husband, wife or both bring
children from their previous marriages.
Establishing a stepfamily inheritance is complicated and potentially caustic. Strictly monetary decisions are
But all the circumstances surrounding the union of two families, usually by divorce or death of a spouse, often
produce emotional and psychological radiation that can have significant and unpredictable effects.
Good intentions are not enough
Unlike the traditional model of husband-wife-children, blended families can count on his children, hers, those
of both and in many cases, a “multiple set” of grandparents.
The age difference between the newly (re)married, as well as the ages of your children, may have important
significances when it comes to the wills.
It is natural that you want to share the fruits of their life work with their biological children, but they should
also want to support your wife and create one happy family from both sides. It is a delicate balancing act.
There are previous children to be taken into consideration and it is essential to have an attitude of fairness
towards all the children involved.
The financial plans can be complicated even when the family members seem to be well-combined. The potential
suspects, the rough edges, the skeptical siblings (and half-brothers and step-siblings) can be so great that many
people avoid addressing the issue of inheritance in their presence, until sometimes it is too late. And even the
best of intentions can go wrong.
Change your will
If you want to prevent these situations, you should make careful financial plans. The goal is to feed your new
stepfamily and ensure their well-being once you are gone.
An effective financial plan for a joint family should look as follows:
- Disinherit your ex
- Protect your own children
- Provide food for your new wife and
- Minimize state taxes
Disinherit your ex?
Yes, this is not just an obscure way of dealing with the situation, but it is vital to avoid legal problems that
may turn into novels. Unless you actively remove your ex-spouse from the beneficiary list or take the right of
survivorship away from her, he or she could legally inherit your home, your retirement plan, your life insurance,
This can happen if you specify otherwise in your will and even the laws in your state automatically extinguish the
interests of your former spouse in your funds or assets.
How can it be?
All these things void the will. The transfers are not tested. The only transfers that a will covers are those
that are legalized.
Unless you follow the appropriate legal steps, your former spouse shall be appointed by a probate court to manage
the inheritance you leave to the children. If one of your children dies before your former spouse, no siblings will
inherit that part of the will.
You do not have to change all the beneficiaries. There are people who got married and still have their parents as
Protecting your children and providing things for your spouse may seem simple, but there are always problems in the
stepfamilies. If you leave everything to your spouse, with instructions to keep your children out of risk of being
underprivileged, your will might fall on their offspring and not yours.
This can happen in some couples in which the children, for example, older than the stepmother, so your children may
not live to collect the inheritance that you intended to leave to them or your spouse can choose to leave
everything to their own children or their new partner.
Fortunately, financial planners have the legal tools to ensure that you do not accidentally disinherit your
children. They will surely be able to advise you on this matter.