Estate Planning for Blended Families

We assist all types of families with our estate planning services. A blended family is a relationship that is formed with partners who have children from a current relationship and also children from a previous relationship.

Wills for blended families need to be carefully drawn to try to avoid any conflict and should include:

  1. Different Will structures suit different family structures. The type of Will that is suitable depends upon what assets will flow into the estate and what the Will maker is trying to achieve whilst minimising the risk of any future claims against an estate.
  2. The careful selection of a proper Executor/Trustee is a very important decision for a will maker in a blended family as consideration needs to be given to potential conflicts of interest that may arise between a new spouse and the biological and/or step-children of the relationship or marriage. If there isn’t a suitable person within the blended family then an independent trustee such as a friend or even professional trustee may need to be appointed in the Will
  3. Titles to the ownership of real property need to be properly investigated as there are major differences in how Estate Planning law deals with property held by joint proprietors and, tenants in common or a by a trust. This is particularly relevant in blended families or relationships where the parties bring different assets into the relationship.
  4. A proper review of how assets held in Discretionary Trusts and/or Companies are treated on death is essential. Trust deeds must be reviewed to ensure that upon death, any ownership and control issues are a reflection of the intentions of the deceased as well as the issue of who will assume control of a company on succession.
  5. Superannuation is often one of the largest assets that we have access to and there is often a life insurance policy within many industry superannuation funds. Beneficiary Nominations, especially Binding Death Benefit Nominations, need to be reviewed carefully to ensure that the funds pass to the intended beneficiary or beneficiaries.
  6. During the review process, all power of attorney documents are reviewed to ensure that the appointed attorney still has the capacity to run your financial affairs and remains diligent in dealing with your financial or health affairs if you were to lose capacity.

We recommend that everyone should regularly review all of their estate planning documents to ensure that their wills and power of attorney documents still meet their estate planning requirements.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our Estate planning solicitors if you have any queries about a Will or Powers of Attorney.

“Pearce Webster Dugdales are experienced in this area and are qualified to provide advice to you.”