April 15, 2014 by generationsprobate
The blended family is a relatively new concept in defining the American household. Various experts have only begun making sense of this unusual family structure that consists of parents, their children, and children from a previous relationship (be it either parent or both). In other words, you can’t have a blended family without two things: divorce and kids.
Blended families can be legal pickles when it comes to estate planning. Inheritance comes up often in these situations. When one of the spouses die, does he or she give rights to the estate to his or her own children? How will the original heir feel about being disinherited in favor of another? It’s complicated enough that you have to settle your post-divorce estate division with your ex.
The first step in estate planning for blended families (also called stepfamilies) is filing prenuptial agreements; the rest of the planning process follows suit. This agreement outlines the assets a couple wants their children to inherit. The law may or may not recognize prenuptial agreements based on the terms, but that’s what an estate planning expert is there for.
For a prenuptial agreement to be recognized by the law, its terms have to abide by the law. Given the complexity of estate planning, especially in a blended family, you’re more likely to have a sound agreement with the help of a lawyer who knows its ins and outs. Ultimately, nobody wants an ugly struggle for inheritance.