Planning for Blended Families

Anytime people are entering into a second (or subsequent) marriage, I strongly recommend a prenuptial agreement. 

Many people think of a premarital agreement as only dealing with what happens in the event of a divorce. However, an equally important reason for a premarital agreement is to determine how your estate will be distributed if one of you dies during the marriage, especially if your marriage becomes a long-term marriage (which, of course, is the intended goal of all marriages).  You want to avoid any confusion between your new spouse and your children over who is entitled to what portion of your estate.

Even if you have already completed an estate plan of your own, a new marriage typically calls for significant changes to your plan. 

Fortunately, there are good options for blended families who want to ensure that certain items in the estate are reserved for certain children.  The first step I take when working with blended families is to help define the expectations of the individuals.  This can be uncomfortable, but it is important work and going through the process is both a gift to your children because it helps to avoid the hard feelings and expense of litigation that can result from misunderstandings.  It is also a peace of mind gift to yourselves. Once we agree on the goals, I draft legal documents to ensure these expectations will be met.