When you and your partner create a life together with the children from one or both of your previous relationships, this is known as a blended family. It can sometimes be difficult for blended families to discuss how they wish their estates to be divided regarding their Wills. This can be due to the different needs of the children, when and who created the family’s wealth, plus the whole emotional process that this entails.
Making a Will
We all know that making a Will is extremely important, and it is even more important for blended families to ensure that Wills are put in place to enable the assets to be distributed in accordance with their wishes after their death. If a Will is not put in place, it is highly likely that the law will determine the distribution of assets, and this could disinherit a partner or stepchild.
When estate planning for blended families it is useful to discuss the option of creating a trust. A trust is a legal arrangement which enables the appointment of Trustees to protect and manage assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. There are many flexible trusts which can be used such as those to provide support for a child’s education, and to protect assets for the future. An important aspect of a Trust is that it will ensure that the assets are distributed in accordance with the wishes of the person who created it and avoids the risk of the intestacy rules dictating how and when a person inherits.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
When creating a Will to protect a blended family in death, it is also important to protect your blended family during your lifetime, should you become unwell or lose capacity. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document which enables you to appoint another person to make financial decisions, or decisions about your health and welfare on your behalf. This is important because the person who you may wish to have this authority may not automatically be able to step in to look after your affairs without such a document.
Overall, it is important that everyone creates a Will and lasting powers of attorney to protect their loved ones in the future. For blended families this is an even more important process, as without such documents, it is highly likely that you will be left with a complex Estate in the event of your death with the possibility of financial hardship to those that you love.
At Boyletts Law, we are able to give comprehensive estate planning and guidance to help blended families navigate the legal complexities in creating a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney and help you create a plan that is bespoke to you and your unique needs and circumstances. If you have any questions about Wills and estate planning, trusts or lasting powers of attorney, please call us on 01279 295047 or complete our enquiry form.