Families can be complicated at the best of times, but more and more of us are now part of a blended family. We might have children from previous relationships or have become a step-parent. When you make your will it’s always worth considering your blended family and whether you want to provide for them in your will. There are also a few potential pitfalls that it’s worth considering so you know you’ve got everything covered. Here are my key areas to think about.
Looking after your stepchildren
When you become part of a blended family with a partner who already has children, it’s a big adjustment. You might treat your stepchildren as your own, but the law often doesn’t. If you haven’t made a will, the intestacy rules only apply to your spouse and blood relations. That means that stepchildren don’t automatically inherit, even if you’re married to one of their biological parents.
Of course, you don’t have to leave anything to your partner’s children if you don’t want to. They might eventually inherit through your partner or their other parent. It might be more important to you to leave a legacy for your biological children. It’s worth thinking about as if you want to leave something for your stepchildren you’ll need to make a will.
Protecting your first family
Blended families come in all different shapes and sizes. If you start a new relationship or a whole new family it’s likely that you’ll still want to provide something for your existing children. Making a will lets you decide exactly how that will work. If you’ve remarried and don’t make a will, they could end up with nothing as, under intestacy rules, your new spouse could inherit everything. They might be the kind of person that will look after all of your children anyway, but if you’d rather take steps to make sure, make a will. A will allows you to specify how your estate will be divided up when you’re gone so you know everyone will be treated fairly.
The family home
Your family home could be the place where your children grew up. For some people, it might have been home for even longer. If you’ve inherited the house you grew up in, you’ll almost certainly want a say in what happens to it when you’ve gone. This doesn’t just apply to blended families. More and more people are remarrying after their spouse’s death. If you don’t have a will the new spouse (and their children) may end up inheriting all of it. That may not bother you. You might also be confident that your spouse will provide for your children. On the other hand, maybe you want to make sure. Any number of unforeseen and unexpected events can prevent your children inheriting the family home. You can leave your home to your children and still allow the surviving spouse to live there for as long as they want to, but this type of planning can only be done through a will.
When it comes to wills and a blended family, there are no hard and fast rules. The important thing is that you’ve considered all the issues and are making an informed choice.
Do you need help creating a will to protect your blended family? Get in touch using the form below or call us on 0116 380 0752.