The increase in the number of families, comprising of different families that have been linked by new relationships, can complicate the process of inheritance, the creation and administration of Wills, and the distribution of estates.
What is a blended family?
A blended family, or stepfamily, consists of a couple, the children they have had together, and their children from previous relationships.
How does a blended family affect Wills and inheritance?
Deciding how to divide your estate can be difficult, even when there is a simple family set up, but when there has been a second, or more, marriages, this can become even more difficult and create more scope for conflicts.
Balancing what assets were brought to the blended family by each party and what were acquired as a new family can be difficult, making clear estate planning very important for blended families. Considering how to deal with the combined estate on the death of the survivor can be difficult with potentially expensive disputes arising if any of the family members feel they have been unfairly treated.
How can blended families make clear Wills and estate planning?
Taking the appropriate advice when preparing your Wills in these circumstances is extremely important. The advice can also include any potential claimants against your estate. Claims can be made by a disgruntled family member under the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 which provides for a spouse, child or people treated as children or dependants to bring a claim against the deceased’s estate where they are left without reasonable financial provision. Any claimant would need to show that they were maintained by the deceased prior to death and such claims can potentially be costly.