Remarrying later in life can bring many joys, but it can also come with its share of issues and challenges. In a blended family situation, many people want to leave legacies for their children and grandchildren, but may also want their new spouse and perhaps even their spouse’s family to be taken care of. It’s a delicate topic that can lead to resentment, even for the most understanding families, so great care should be taken when planning for a blended family.
Take this example: a man and woman, both with their own children and grandchildren, decide to marry late in life and do not create an estate plan. According to the laws of intestacy, when the husband dies, his solely-owned assets and property will pass to his wife. When the wife dies, her assets and property – which includes her inheritance from her husband – will pass to her children and grandchildren. This means the husband’s family is not legally entitled to an inheritance from their father. This is a disturbingly common situation, and can lead to a lot of strife and animosity within the blended family.
In order to avoid a situation like the one described above, it’s important to work with an Ohio elder law attorney to create an estate plan that addresses the specific needs of the spouses and their families. Planning early can ensure that legacies are left for each family member, per the planner’s discretion, and can avoid potentially toxic relationships in the blended family after one or both spouses have passed away.
Spouses in blended families can start planning right away. They can decide which family members they would like to provide for, and can start making lists of specific property and assets they want to pass to their family members. In addition, the spouses can either write letters to family members that are to be read after death explaining their decisions concerning their estate plan, or can explain their decisions as they’re made.
For more information about estate planning for blended families and how to make sure you leave a legacy for your loved ones, please contact one of our offices to schedule an appointment:
Lancaster: (740) 653-3450
Dublin: (614) 495-4185
St. Clairsville: (740) 699-2193