Second Marriages are common today. That is not a comment on our society, it is simply a fact. So it is a fair question – how does this affect writing a Will? There are a number of special considerations that accompany writing a Will for a blended family. This blog entry only covers a few of them.
First, the word “children” needs to clearly be defined. Whose children? Yours, mine, ours? Without clarification, the simple statement “Everything goes to my wife, and if she predeceases me, then to my children” could cause quite a stir. Don’t let that cat out of the bag. Your attorney needs to know the state’s law and definition for words like “children” and “issue.”
Next, make your intentions crystal clear. If you wish for all five children (three from the wife and two from the husband, all by prior marriages) to share everything evenly, spell that out. This takes additional language and sometimes stilted-sounding explanations, but it is well worth it. One of the common sentiments that I hear is “Our kids will work it out. Don’t worry.” This is not the place to trust goodwill. If you love your family members — all of them — you will be sure that your Will is clear and unambiguous.
Finally (for this brief blog entry), be very careful in choosing an attorney to assist you. This may be one of the most important documents of your entire life. Don’t choose an attorney who writes wills, does divorces, files bankruptcies, creates business planning documents, settles real estate closings, and handles slip and fall cases. Many years ago, any attorney could write a will. With the changes in the law and the changes in society (like blended families), choose an attorney who focuses his or her entire practice on estates.
Please contact us here at Mateya Law Firm. We would be happy to talk to you about writing your Will and leaving the legacy you want to leave.