Blended families have become increasingly common in Arizona. When married couples have children from earlier marriages and subsequently have children together, their estate plans should be written in a way to ensure that everyone’s interests will be protected so that potential estate litigation might be avoided. Estate planning with stepchildren and children in mind might help to avoid some of the types of disputes that can often arise.
Common probate issues with blended families
There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to blended families, and one aspect that often falls by the wayside is how to handle estate planning.
After a parent dies, if the surviving spouse has stepchildren it can result in battles over the assets and property left behind by the deceased spouse. The deceased’s biological children might feel that their step-parent is taking steps to favor their own children and to wrest control away of the estate from them. With good estate planning, these types of situations might be avoided.
Estate planning with blended families
People who have remarried and have biological children from their prior relationships may want to review their estate plans and make changes as necessary. Careful attention might need to be given to how assets will pass to the children, stepchildren, and new spouse. A person can discuss their wishes with each family member so that they will not be surprised later. When all of the family members understand what to expect and the reasoning behind the decisions, fighting between family members might be avoided.
An experienced estate planning attorney might review an existing plan and discuss the wishes of the client. The lawyer might make suggestions about different types of estate planning tools that may help clients to accomplish their goals while reducing the likelihood of family conflicts.