In Australia alone, one in three families are blended. These families are typically a result of adoptions, separations, divorces and remarriages. More than ever, it’s important for partners in blended families to seek an experienced estate lawyer to ensure that probate goes smoothly when one of them passes.
Since there are many variables, an expert estate lawyer will help you set up your will in a way that caters for blended family’s needs. You want to rest easy knowing probate will be rolled out to take into account your wishes when you’re gone
According to the law, a blended family is a family where one or both partners have child/children from a previous relationship.
It’s also important to note that inheritance law prioritises the deceased’s spouse, then their biological children. The tough (but necessary) thing to think about is the level of care your biological children will receive in relation to your stepchildren. You don’t want to leave their wellbeing up to chance, just in case there was a dispute or falling out between your biological children and your partner. It’s uncomfortable to think about, however, establishing an estate plan with a lawyer means the wellbeing and fair treatment of all loved ones will be respected when you pass away. Estate lawyers will be experienced handling the competing interests of past and present partners, biological children and step-children.
5 things to think about when setting up your ‘blended family’ estate plan
There are many complexities in estate planning for a blended family. But it’s possible to get it done right with an experienced lawyer.
- Get a lawyer who’s worked with blended families before
A traditional estate plan won’t suffice because it leaves room for your biological children to be cut out of your estate down the road.
2. Consider a trust for your spouse, with the balance passing onto your children after she dies
A trust is a secure way to ensure your spouse has assets for her lifetime, with the remaining assets passed on to your children when she passes away.
3. Plan for the chance that your spouse may remarry
Your estate lawyer will help you set up your will to protect your assets should your partner remarry. This ensures your children don’t get cheated out of their inheritance.
4. Consider giving your children an immediate gift upon your death
Your children don’t have to wait till after your partner’s death to see their inheritance. It also means you can be confident your children will be catered for, regardless of whether they’re included in your partner’s will.
5. Don’t choose a family member to be your executor
Because blended family dynamics can be complicated, you need an executor who will be impartial if disputes arise and that you trust.
Taylor and Scott’s offer to you in wills and estate matters
Our team Estate team are happy to assist you in your estate planning needs and also review a claim that you may have if you feel that you have been unfairly treated in a will.
Please feel free to contact our Estate team by completing the contact form on this page. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 1800 600 664. Our team of experts in Estate disputes will do everything they can to fight for your rights with respect to your claim.
At Taylor & Scott, we care for you.