Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Blended Families

The term “blended family” refers to a cohabitation relationship in which one or both partners have children from previous relationships. People are often unaware, particularly in cases of unmarried couples and same-sex couples, about what they are legally entitled to when their partners die.

Having children from various relationships just adds to the confusion and often results in unintended consequences —even ex-spouses in some cases making claims against the estate. That is why you need the estate planning assistance of our seasoned estate planning team at the oldest law firm in South Australia.

At Genders & Partners, we will carefully study your family dynamics and help you work out a plan for the distribution of your estate that gives you peace of mind.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Estate Planning Challenges of Blended Families

As more Australians get married more than once, estate planning issues involving blended families are becoming more common.

Estate Planning Challenges of Blended Families

A blended family is where there are children from more than one relationship and they raise particular challenges for estate planning.

A typical example is where a man has children with his first wife, then re-marries a younger woman and has additional children with her.

Because marriage automatically revokes all prior Wills, his older children may be concerned that his new wife and her children may influence him to their advantage, at the expense of the older children’s inheritances.

This is a growth area for lawyers who work in the area of Family Provision claims, where Wills and estates are challenged in Court.

If you have a blended family, you need to exercise considerable caution when creating your Will and estate plan.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Estate Planning after your First Marriage

Estate Planning after your First Marriage

Estate planning for your second or subsequent marriage is more of a challenge than it was the first time around.

If you have children from your first marriage, then those kids may have an entirely justified concern that their new step-parent could throw a big roadblock in the path of their inheritance.

When you got married again, it automatically revoked your previous Wills. If you don’t make a new Will after the latest marriage, the law of the State where you live will create a default Will for you, according to a statutory formula which probably won’t suit your intentions.

Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Estate Planning for Blended Families – More Important Than Ever

Estate Planning for Blended Families - More Important Than Ever

If you are in a second or subsequent marriage that involves different sets of children, then you have a blended family.

If you are planning to start a new life, and maybe buy a home with your present spouse, then this time around you really need to develop an integrate plan to ensure that all the important people in your life receive their fair share of your assets after you die.  That’s what modern integrated estate planning does.

In most Australian jurisdictions, divorce will invalidate all gifts to an ex-spouse under a Will.  However re-marriage will automatically revoke the entire earlier Will (with only rare exceptions).