Estate Planning in Blended Families Considerations for Couples with Children from Previous Relationships

October 1, 2011

Hyman G. Darling, Esq.

The days of mostly traditional American families are probably gone for good. The modern family of today is often a mix of spouses, exes, kids, and steps who somehow find a way to make it all work. Estate planning for such an intricate blended family may be a little tricky, and there are lots of factors to consider.

It is very common for a person who has children from a previous marriage to be married to or planning to marry someone who also has children from a prior marriage. This couple may also have children born of their own union. In other instances, two people may wish to live together without being married. Whatever the situation, estate planning is essential so that if tragedy occurs, all members of the family are provided for in an appropriate manner.

With blended families, it is important to give significant thought, time, and attention to the many planning issues regarding financial, insurance, and tax related matters. While traditional estate planning documents are critical, it is also important to consider a prenuptial or a cohabitation agreement. Either one of these agreements should spell out, in as much detail as possible, what will occur if the relationship dissolves, regardless of whether or not the couple is married.

One of the major issues that this agreement should address is housing. When a couple purchases or rents a home together, if the relationship falls apart, there is usually significant concern about the distribution of...

by: Hyman G. Darling

Healthcare News
October 2011

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