In the past, it used to be a much rarer occurrence to come across a blended family. These days, with the rate of remarriage after the loss or divorce of a spouse, blended families are more prevalent than ever before.
Of course, though this has many benefits and things for individuals in the family to enjoy, it also sets up unique hurdles. For example, you may have to take extra steps in estate planning to ensure every member of your family gets what you want them to get.
Recognizing conflicts of interest
Forbes discusses some options you have to protect both your current family and family members from past marriages. First, you need to recognize the potential for conflicts of interest. Even if your blended family gets along quite well and has a lot of cohesion, children from previous marriages and your current spouse and/or children might end up not seeing eye to eye in some situations.
Generally speaking, any of your family members may expect you to leave them assets. However, children from a previous marriage may assume that your current spouse would try to cut them out or give them less than their fair share if you leave all of your assets to the spouse initially.
To help deal with these conflicts of interest, you could consider different trusts. For example, a QTIP trust lets you title assets to your spouse first, providing an income stream. The rest of the assets will stay untouched. Then, in the event of their death, the assets will then shift to your children. Of course, you may want to speak with legal help to learn more about your options.