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Blended Families – Things to think about when drafting your Will

By February 4, 2021November 10th, 2021No Comments

It was easy when you were with the mother (or father) of your children.  You understood the need for a will to take care of both your spouse and your children if something happened to you.  This becomes more difficult when you are on round two (or three or …).

Even the best intentions between parties can change when one spouse dies first and there is a risk your children will end up with nothing.  Even if parties make wills where their property goes to each other and they have an understanding (although not written), that they will “look after” each other’s children, circumstances may change which means that this does not occur.

PERSONAL PROPERTY

Families often have an emotional attachment to family heirlooms, pictures, jewellery, and other sentimental items. If all personal property is left to the surviving spouse, your children may never receive these heirlooms, or the family history associated with them.

THE REAL ESTATE

In most relationships, the biggest asset is the home which is usually held jointly.  Do you wish for your spouse to remain in the home if this is the only real estate available?  Do you wish the home to be sold and divided? What is a life interest in the property?  Is it worthwhile thinking about this option?

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT

  1. What does the surviving spouse get from your estate and when?
  2. Does the surviving spouse only have access for limited use such as for their health, education, maintenance, support or ?
  3. After the surviving spouse passes where do the assets go?
  4. Are your children entitled to any monies during the surviving spouses life? Are your children still dependant?
  5. Who will be your executor? Will the executor be an independent person (a friend or relative etc), the surviving spouse or a trustee company?

It is important to consider these questions before it becomes essential to do so.  If you do not adequately provide for your spouse or children etc from your estate, an eligible beneficiary (either your spouse or a child etc) may make a family provision claim in the Supreme Court seeking further provision from your estate.  These claims cause delay and uncertainty and can contribute to further family disharmony.  These applications are also very expensive and can be a further drain on the estate assets.

If you would like to discuss the above with our principal, Kym Chapman, please contact her on 0416102577.

Kym Chapman & Associates provide legal advice for Northern NSW and have offices based in Byron Bay and Cabarita.