How Legal Planning Helps Build a Strong Blended Family… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Happy Monday:

We are headed out to Morton’s tonight for a team appreciation night. I’m thrilled as I have not yet been to Morton’s. They have a very nice Halloween menu, which provides an opportunity for us to enjoy this great steakhouse at a fraction of the usual price. Another plus is that dessert is included…Yah!  In all seriousness, getting out once in a while to a special venue, enjoying great food and company is something we look forward to. Demonstrating appreciation, for me, is important and hopefully, an unexpected surprise for our team.

Avoiding conflict is a very important component of planning. Blended families are fertile ground for unhappy endings.  If you are part of a blended family, you no doubt understand that one misstep in planning decisions could leave behind generations of unnecessary bitterness.  Communication is key here.  Understanding expectations of your children and the impact a new relationship has on those expectations can provide much insight into creating a plan that meets the needs, and expectations of the entire family.  Decision-making becomes clear after understanding occurs.  Make time to talk to the people who mean to the most in your life, so that the plan you want is the plan you end up with.

Until next week!  Happy Halloween.

Christine

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How Legal Planning Helps Build a Strong Blended Family

Yours, mine and ours … in today’s modern family, it’s oh so common. The blended family is the product of 2nd (or more) marriages, in which one or more of the parties comes with children from a prior marriage. And then, they may even go on to have children together.

If you have or are part of a blended family, it’s important to understand how estate planning could be exactly what you need to keep your family out of conflict and in love, both during life, in the event of incapacity, and when one or more of the senior generation (read: parents) dies.

Let’s begin with an understanding of where potential conflicts could arise when you have a blended family.

If you have children from a prior marriage, and you become incapacitated or die, leaving everything to your new spouse or partner, there is almost certain to be some conflict (whether spoken or not) between your children and new spouse.

Your children may feel unloved, forgotten or resentful.

You may think that this can be avoided by leaving everything to your new spouse or partner, and then on his or her death, to your children. But this too could set up a scenario where your children feel the need to monitor your spouse/partner’s use of your assets, during his or her life. And that may not be what you want.

Conversely, you may have a partner or spouse that you have not planned for, who you would want to inherit some or all of your assets. But, as things stand right now, your entire estate may go to your children from a prior marriage. This could create a reality where your current partner even gets kicked out of the house you share, if something happens to you before your plan is updated.

You can avoid all of this (and even use the estate planning process to build stronger bonds) by having clear planning in place that has been discussed with your children and your new spouse or partner. We facilitate this as part of the planning process for all blended families.

If you are the child of a parent who has remarried or re-partnered, after a divorce or death, of your other parent, you may want to bring these issues to your parent’s attention.

If you are ready to create a well thought out estate plan for your blended family, start by sitting down with us. A Personal Family Lawyer® can help you plan for the needs of your unique family. Our Family Wealth Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most.

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