Planning a Will for a Blended Family: Why you Need to Consult Your Lawyer

While a lot of people don’t like to think about death, it is important you have measures in place for addressing your assets. Without a valid will, the division of assets and property can become extremely complicated and can result in hostility between family members. When a family is blended, there is a large asset pool or a business involved, things become even more tricky. So how do you make a complicated will for a blended family? You should consider the following factors before you consult with a lawyer to plan your estate.

Why should you create a will?

When biological children, stepchildren, new partners and ex-partners are all part of a family, the distribution of the assets of an estate can become tricky. Usually, if there is no will in place for a traditional married couple, the estate will go to the surviving partner and then their children upon the remaining partner’s death. However, issues may arise when there is no will, and there are step-parents and children to other marriages. Both the former spouse and their children may contest the will.

If adequate provision is not made for an eligible beneficiary, they may be able to make a family provision claim to contest the distribution. This further complicates things and will likely cause more hostility between the remaining family members.

It is best you get your lawyers to draft a legally binding will, especially if you have a blended family, to help negate the chances of contestation and hostility surrounding your assets.

Interests in real estate and other assets

The benefit of creating a will means you can elect who is to receive assets and at what allocated time. This means, hypothetically, your children can inherit their share straight away, as opposed to upon the death of your partner. By creating and allocating assets in your will, you can ensure your children are set to receive a set amount, as opposed to the risk of your partner changing their will to exclude them or the asset value diminishing over time.

Choosing your executor

Your executor is who you chose to represent you and carry out your wishes you when you die. Their role will see them dealing with the estate lawyers, real estate agents, pay remaining bills, and perform any other administrative tasks required to ensure your wishes are carried out.

It is up to you who you chose as your executor. Most people elect a partner or their children. In the case of a blended family or complex relationship, it is recommended a neutral third party be appointed to decrease any chances of bias or further family disputes.

What happens if there is a family business?

A family business adds further complexity to estate planning. If the deceased is a sole trader, they can either elect to have the business liquified or have someone take over its management. If the business is a company, the nature of the distribution will depend on the number of shares owned. It is important to consult a lawyer in regard to business arrangements in the event of your death as the structure and nature of every business is different.

Wills can be a very complex area, especially when it comes to blended families. It is extremely important you consult a lawyer when putting together a will to ensure your wishes are successfully conveyed. Blended families add an extra layer of complexity to the process that makes the consulting of legal advice even more vital. Every situation, person and asset pool is different so there isn’t one set structure or kit a person can follow when it comes to making a will.

Are you looking for an experienced estate planning solicitor in Newcastle, Sydney or the Hunter to assist you in your legal matter? Call us on (02) 4929 7002, email us or complete an enquiry form.