Blended Family Concern
Long Beach, Downey and Irvine, California
Concerns of a Blended Family
Many couples are in a second marriage, and one or both spouses have children from a previous marriage. Such “blended families” can pit one spouse against the children of the other spouse, generate rivalry between each spouse’s children, or even create disagreements between the spouses themselves. An estate plan that fails to address these issues (or the lack of an estate plan at all) can have devastating consequences when one or both spouses pass away.
Spouses often come into a second marriage with assets acquired during their previous marriage or inherited from their own family members. While both spouses may agree how they will use and enjoy these assets during their joint lifetime, each spouse may have avery different view of who is entitled to those assets when one spouse dies.
While a blended family may be harmonious during the lifetime of both spouses, after one spouse passes away, those relationships often change. Family members who got along well when both spouses were alive may find that their interests have diverged after one of the spouses is gone. Relationships between stepparents and stepchildren may become strained or distant as old disagreements resurface, or unspoken resentments are suddenly expressed. The surviving spouse wants to be reassured that he or she will have enough assets to be cared for for the rest of his or her life, while children are worried that there may be no assets left for them to inherit.
The experienced estate planning attorneys at Velasco Law Group are familiar with these issues, and can prepare an estate plan that balances both spouses’ needs, as well as those of their children and other heirs, to minimize or eliminate the conflicts that often tear these families apart. A carefully drafted estate plan can protect the deceased spouse’s children from unintended disinheritance, and the surviving spouse against interference by disgruntled stepchildren. We encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss the estate planning concerns of your blended family.
Disputes and Litigation
When family members or other beneficiaries feel they have been wrongfully shortchanged (or excluded entirely) from their fair share of an estate, they may initiate a Will or Trust contest. Sometimes stepchildren simply don’t like or agree with the estate plan that the spouses created together and mutually agreed upon. Other times, the spouses’ estate plan may be the product of coercion by one spouse (or by his or her children), and favor one spouse’s children over the other’s. The children of a deceased spouse may exert pressure on the surviving spouse, or the surviving spouse may take advantage of the terms of the estate plan to shift more assets to his or her own children.
Velasco Law Group’s familiarity with the issues facing blended families enables us to better represent clients who need to initiate litigation to protect their interests, or defend against legal actions taken by other members of the blended family. Call us today for a free consultation to see if we can help you.
It is important that you review your estate plan if you are going through a divorce or separation, or if you decided to remarry or live with a new partner.