When you have a blended family, your will may be more complicated. In today’s world, blended families are growing increasingly prevalent. This usually signifies that one or both partners have children from a prior relationship (and the new partners may also go on to have children together).
It’s especially crucial for spouses in blended families to talk openly and honestly about what will happen if one of them dies, and how each child would benefit from their individual estates. While these discussions may be painful, it is preferable to have them now than leave your loved ones wondering about your wishes after you pass away.
Is It Possible To Be Fair To Everyone?
Ensuring that everyone you care about gets a fair part of your assets when you pass away is a problem that many of us face. When you have a blended family, this may be much more complicated. It isn’t always as simple as making a Will and stating who receives what. Several statutes allow family members and/or your new partner’s family members to dispute your Will. The Family Protection Act of 1955 (FPA) and the Property (Relationships) Act (PRA) of 1976 are the two-primary pieces of legislation.
Leaving Everything To Your Partner:
Giving everything to your partner or spouse, trusting that they would provide for your children as well as their own, is not the preferred option. Numerous recent court cases have shown, that this structure does not always satisfy all the children involved. There is also the possibility of your partner or spouse amending their Will after you’ve passed away.
If your partner or spouse outlives you by a significant amount of time, they may alter their Will as their circumstances change. They may remarry, form a new relationship, or add to their family by having additional children. This might suggest that the share of your fortune you planned to leave to your biological children has been diminished by your partner’s decision to leave more to other partners or children than you had planned.
If family members think they have not been adequately provided for, they might file a claim against your estate under the FPA.
Leaving Everything To Your Children:
Given these two possibilities, it may be tempting to leave your whole inheritance to your children. Unfortunately, this can lead to similar issues. Your spouse might file a claim under the FPA in the same way as your children could, or they could file an application under the PRA.
Discuss your options with us to discover a solution that works best for your family and meets your needs, since one size does not fit all. Some possibilities include:
- Contracting out agreements: you and your partner reach an agreement that trumps the PRA.
- Setting up trusts in your Will or before you die: if properly set up, trusts can be successful in fending against FPA and PRA demands.
- Leave your spouse a life interest in your property for their lifetime, but that interest will expire when they die, and the property will then be divided among your children.
Let’s talk about your options if you have a mixed family and want to organise your affairs in a way that works best for you and your family. Contact us today!