3. Blended Families
Familial situations involving second marriages with children from previous marriages are increasingly common. In this scenario, the new spouses very often are clear with their intentions and seek to do the right thing. They both fully and sincerely intend for all children from their blended family to share in their joint estates, whether they intend for all the children to share equally or based on the amount of assets each spouse brought to the marriage. Often, they seek to accomplish this goal by each executing wills reflecting their joint wishes, but often these wills begin with a transfer of all assets from one spouse to the other when the first dies.
Despite good intentions, this can lead to problems. For example, the husband may predecease the wife who eventually loses touch or becomes estranged from her stepchildren. If the husband’s will left assets to her with the expectation that her will would pass the assets along according to their long-term wishes, all certainty is lost. She can then make a new estate plan based on her own wishes. Depending on her relationship with her stepchildren, she might decide to leave everything to her own kids.