Drafting wills and trusts with the help of an attorney who specializes in such matters requires you to make some important decisions about your assets and who in your life will get them. For some people, these decisions are easy — for example, lots of people divide their assets evenly among their children. For others, however, a complicated family situation may present some challenges. If you have a blended family, you'll need to give some careful consideration to your relationships with each person and how you want your assets to be divided in the event of your passing. Here are some difficult topics to consider in this scenario.
One Spouse Versus The Other
For many people with blended families, it's common to have an ex-spouse with whom you have children, and a current spouse with whom you may or may not have children. When you think about both spouses, you'll need to decide how you might want to divide your assets. For example, if your divorce was acrimonious, you might choose to leave your ex-spouse out of your will. However, if you still get along, and always remember that he or she is the parent of your children, you may feel that giving him or her something is appropriate.
Your Kids Versus Your Spouse's Kids
A blended family can have lots of children living under the same roof. You could have a child or two of your own, your spouse could have a child or two of his or her own, and you may even have a child together. Children are common beneficiaries in wills, but you may hesitate to divide everything evenly. For example, do you like the idea of your biological children having to split your assets with your spouse's children who aren't your blood? There's no right answer here, but this is a topic that you need to carefully consider.
The relationships that you have with everyone in your blended family can change over time. For example, you might have recently felt contention toward your ex-spouse, but have also noticed that the relationship is improving. You should always be open to making changes to your will over time, based on how your relationships might change. For example, perhaps you aren't initially in favor of splitting your assets evenly between your biological children and your spouse's children, but as you build the bond within your blended family, you could feel closer to the latter and wish to give them as much as you're giving your biological children.