Dealing with blended families in a Will is more complicated than some family set-ups because of the need to ensure both partners and all the children are protected and provided for in the future.
What Is A Blended Family?
A blended family consists of a couple who’ve formed a new relationship or remarried and one or both partners have children from a previous relationship. They may then have children together at a later date.
This means that as well as looking after your partner, you will want to protect and provide for your children when you die.
Why Make A Will?
If you die without making a Will, the rules of intestacy decide who inherits your estate. With a blended family, this could result in your children or your partner’s children inheriting nothing from either estate when you or your partner dies as stepchildren are not provided for under these rules.
Which Will Should You Make?
Many couples opt for a so-called mirror Will that leaves everything to the surviving partner when one dies, with everything divided up between their children when the surviving partner dies. However, this is not always ideal for a blended family as there is no protection for your children and the surviving spouse could write a new Will when you die or remarry which would revoke the original Will, or one partner may have contributed a bigger share of the assets and want this ringfenced for their own children.
A good solution for blended families is a life interest trust as this enables you to protect the surviving partner as well as your children. With a Will trust, the surviving partner can continue to live in the home you share until they die. At this point, the house is often sold, and each share of the assets then passes to the respective children.
You can tailor your life interest trust to suit the needs of your blended family. For example, you can state that the trust ends also when the surviving partner remarries or moves into a care home as well as when the surviving partner dies.
As an extra safeguard in your Will, you can add a Declaration of Trust. This is a statement that details the amount of contribution each partner made to the purchase of the property, so that when the property is later sold, the money can be split according to the original investment amounts.
Helping To Protect Your Blended Family
Writing a Will enables you to protect your blended family and ensure loved ones inherit according to your wishes rather than the rules of intestacy when you die. By creating a life interest trust and adding a Declaration of Trust to your Will, you can ringfence your children’s share of your estate and keep it safe for them, even if your surviving partner writes a new Will after your death or remarries.
With our specialist advice and support, you can draft the perfect Will for your blended family – one that provides the right protection for your partner and children in the future and ensures you can look after your loved ones long after you’re gone.