Preparation for a secure future is a fundamental responsibility towards your loved ones. It might appear daunting, especially in the case of blended families, but understanding the process can significantly reduce the burden. Here are eight crucial considerations for creating a will for your blended family, highlighting the importance of mutual wills:
1. Children’s Inheritance
Equal distribution is the foundation of harmony. A will ensures a fair inheritance amongst all your children, irrespective of whether they are part of your current or previous relationships. What is “fair” though is as individual as you are. You’re going to need to discuss that with your spouse or partner.
2. Providing for Your Spouse
The financial well-being of your spouse is another critical aspect. A well-structured will takes their future needs into consideration, ensuring sustenance and comfort even in your absence. It will also need to consider what happens depending on who goes first.
3. Guardianship of Minors
If there are minor children in your care, determine who’d be best suited to assume guardianship. Although this may be a difficult discussion, it is essential for the welfare of your children. Remember that, if your minor child has another living parent, that other parent will likely have the exclusive right to care for the children. While that’s not always the case, it’s something to consider.
4. Personal Possessions
Family heirlooms, sentimental gifts, or any item of personal significance requires careful consideration. Be explicit in your will to alleviate any unnecessary distress or disputes later.
5. Setting Up Trusts
Trusts are an excellent way to safeguard your children’s future financial well-being without overwhelming them with a significant amount at once—particularly beneficial for minor children or those not yet prepared for financial responsibility.
6. Considering a Mutual Will
A mutual will, sometimes called contractual wills, is a binding agreement between two people, typically spouses, to carry forward mutual promises even after one partner passes. This agreement’s serious nature obligates the survivor to uphold and respect the departed’s wishes, providing additional security for your family. Courts will usually uphold this type of will, if drafted correctly, even if the surviving spouse changes their will after the death of the other spouse. It can be hard to think that this might be an issue, but wills are about piece of mind and serious consideration should be given to exploring this as a possible option.
7. Open Communication
Maintaining transparency with your family about your will’s contents is vital. It not only eliminates confusion but also prevents potential disputes in the future. These discussions will absolutely involve your spouse or partner, but in many families discussing these issues with the (adult) children can help give clarity not only to them, but to you too.
8. Professional Legal Advice
Professional guidance could prove invaluable during this process. Legal advisors ensure each aspect of your will is addressed appropriately, helping you draft a comprehensive document that accurately reflects your wishes.
Creating this legacy for your blended family—through a well-planned will—does not have to be a challenging process. Remember, professional help is just a call away. Reach out to us at any time; we’re here to support you every step of the way.