Planning Wills for Blended Families
Many people are hesitant about making a Will due to their family structures, particularly if they have blended families involving step-children. They worry that the process will be too complicated.
However, in today’s society people re-marrying and having blended families is increasingly common so it is important that you frame a Will that reflects how you would like your assets to be distributed to your loved ones and dependents after you die.
Under Intestate laws, if you die without a valid Will leaving children from a previous marriage, your spouse is entitled to 50 percent of your estate and your children the remaining 50 percent.
Naturally people want to ensure that their spouse is provided for after they die, but they also want to protect their children in the longer term. In these situations, many people want to ensure that their biological children will receive their assets when their spouse passes away rather than have those assets pass directly to their step-children or other members of their spouse’s family.
This is particularly an issue for couples who have met later in life, and have brought their own (sometimes considerable) assets to the marriage or cohabitation. In most of these cases, the parents would like to see their own children inherit the bulk of their assets
So people are often hesitant to make a Will because they do not know how to provide for each member of the family fairly.
But there is a fair and straightforward solution to this dilemma.
You can create a Will in which you give a right of residency (for a home you own solely in your own name) to your spouse to continue to live in the marital home after your death. Then when your spouse dies or vacates the residence, its ownership passes to your children.
Provided it is drafted correctly, this type of Will protects the assets you own in your name while ensuring that both your spouse and children are adequately provided for after you have gone.