Estate planning for the blended family is rarely simple. I recently had the pleasure of taking a multiple hour course on estate planning for the blended family. In fact, it was a tele-seminar conducted over 3 weeks to spread out the information. The lecturers were an experienced estate planning attorney (L. Paul Hood) and a psychologist/counselor type (Emily Bouchard). The combination of the legal side and the emotional side made for a good presentation.
As with many things in life it is much more difficult than it seems at first blush. I have learned this through countless meetings with clients where we discuss his kids, her kids and their kids. We have discussed the issues of providing for the spouse but wanting to leave something for the kids.
There are so many options, so many permutations, and so many tools we can use. However, it is the experience that is key. It is the experience I bring where I can show you what the options look like at the first death, at the second death and beyond.
The problem is many couples are so exacerbated by the process that they fail to finish their plan. This is most true for blended families. There are difficult issues that need to be faced head on. You can’t beat around the bush… or at least you shouldn’t. Not in this area of law. When dealing with second marriages, kids from previous marriages, assets from before marriage, and all the other related issues it’s important to tackle the issues head on.
Failure to complete an estate plan, particularly in a blended family setting, can create HUGE PROBLEMS after death. Don’t let that happen to you or your loved ones. Get it in writing and get it done RIGHT!
Let me know if I can help. -John