HIS HERS OURS: Estate Planning for the Blended Family

“Here’s the story of a lovely ladybrady bunch
who was bringing up three very lovely girls
all of them had hair of gold, like their mother.
the youngest one in curls.

Here’s the story of a man named Brady
Who was busy with three boys of his own.
They were four men living all together
yet they were all alone

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow.
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That this group must somehow form a family,
That’s the way we all became the Brady bunch.”

~~credits to Sherwood Schwartz creator of the Brady Bunch and lyricist

I’m sure I’m dating myself with that one, but it just seemed an appropriate opening.  I’m always saying how Estate Planning is very important, regardless of your age or the size of your family.  Let me follow that up by saying Estate Planning is extremely important when you have a blended family.  Statistics show that about 15 percent of the U.S. population has been married more than once. Blended families are commonplace in today’s world. But from a legal standpoint they bring a whole slew of issues that really are best addressed while you are alive, rather than fought over after you are gone.

What makes a blended family different? At least one and often both adults enter into the marriage with assets from previous marriages.  When you enter into a second marriage, often both parties have children from previous relationships. Then, the couple sometimes has children together. While you want to make certain your spouse is properly cared for in the event of your death, you want to ensure that your minor children are cared for as well, and you may have concerns as to whom will manage your kids’ money if you’re gone or will your adult children get an inheritance or not?  Do you want to provide for your step-children whom you’ve helped raise for most of their lives?  A lot of these things won’t happen or will happen in a way that may surprise you if left to Florida Intestacy Laws.  According to research, the biggest mistake made when making a Will with a blended family is that people fail to be specific when leaving property to “children”.

Creating the Right Plan.  It’s a must.

Making sure your assets will get distributed so that everyone is cared for can be a challenging situation. You need to indicate what goes to whom as leaving it up to the family to divide things and sort things out is not a responsible decision. Your spouse and children should not have to work out the situation on their own. Instead, you need to ask for direction so you can derive the right plan for your needs.

Effective Estate Planning for a blended family can be tricky.  An experienced and knowledgeable attorney in your corner can help you sort through your goals and make the best possible plan for your family.

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is an Estate Planning and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, Florida. See what clients are saying about Heidi, follow her on Facebook, and connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn

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About heidi

Heidi Webb is an Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Small Business Law attorney serving Daytona Beach and surrounding areas.