Florida is home to many blended families. This kind of family structure, with stepparents and stepchildren, can be very warm and fulfilling, but it does raise present some challenges too. That’s not confined to issues like sharing custody. Estate planning is another area where blended families may have to do a little extra work.
When to make a plan
An estate plan shouldn’t be something that people write once and then shove in a drawer. Every adult should have at least a will on file, and they should update it regularly. Some of the most important times to revisit a will are when people remarry and have more children to consider.
Documents to create
Estate planning for a blended family should always include a prenuptial agreement. This is one way of ensuring that everyone’s interests are protected if the new arrangement doesn’t work out. In particular, it helps make sure assets are protected for children.
Couples should also create new wills when they’re blending a family. In a newly expanded family, things like guardianship of minor children can become more complicated. Will all of the siblings end up with the same guardian? What about the ones who share one set of grandparents but not another? Will half-siblings and step-siblings be able to maintain close contact? This can require a lot of conversations.
Dividing an inheritance among the children in a blended family is a challenge, to say the least. Parents will want to ensure that everyone is looked after when creating estate documents. It may be appropriate to leave more or less to some children based, for example, on what their other parent and grandparents are providing for them. An attorney may be able to help a client finesse all of these details.