The popular long-running 1970s TV comedy The Brady
Bunch was the first to depict a blended family of a happily
married couple, each with three kids of their own from a previous
Such families were relatively rare in those days, but nowadays
blended families of all types are common – often with
even more complex origins such as children from several different
As we now tend to live longer, we are also seeing more people
aged in their 70s and 80s remarry. Their children are adults, and
they may have previous spouses or partners still alive.
All of this can make issues of inheritance, wills and estate
planning much more complicated and challenging to satisfy those
involved. More and more cases of bitterly disputed wills and
inheritances are appearing before court.
The best idea is to plan ahead to avoid such stressful and
unpleasant family conflicts. Sometimes what you want to happen to
your estate when you die will not go the way you want as there may
be legal grounds to challenge your will if it hasn't been
carefully thought out.
For instance, on your death will the children of your new spouse
be able to claim part of the wealth you acquired before you married
It would be wise to get legal advice on the best estate planning
strategy that best fits your own individual situation.
You may find that a Testamentary Trust best fits your situation,
particularly if you have young children or want to provide for
someone who needs ongoing medical care. The Trust can be structured
so that payments are made from the trust fund for years to support
these people, then divided up among the family when the support is
no longer needed.
For older couples, you may wish to have the trust provide an
income for your spouse until they die, and then be divided among
You may consider pre-nuptial agreements – properly
known as Binding Financial Agreements – which lay down
your wishes on dividing assets should you split up.
The Brady Bunch never had an episode showing the Bradys
sitting down with an estate planning lawyer to sort out an orderly,
equitable and fair distribution of their wealth.
It mightn't make great TV, but it would be the smart thing
If you are part of a blended family and wish to speak to a
lawyer experienced in estate planning, feel free to contact a
member of the Stacks Wealth Protection Team at a Stacks/The Law
Firm office near you.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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If you are doing a Will, or you are the executor of a deceased estate, consider what taxes and duties could be payable.
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