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DC Planning For Blended Families



Given that about half of marriages end in divorce, it’s not uncommon for many of our clients to have blended families. These families, where one or both partners have children from previous marriages, often face unique challenges in estate planning. Balancing the needs of a current spouse and shared children with those of children from prior relationships can be complex. Any discord between the different families can greatly complicate the drafting and execution of an effective estate plan.

How An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

Even in amicable blended families, the absence of a structured estate plan can lead to unforeseen issues. Without the proper provisions, intestacy laws may distribute a significant portion of the deceased spouse’s estate to children from the previous marriage, potentially disregarding the surviving spouse and minor children of the current marriage. This can still happen if the children from the prior marriage are grown adults and have less of a need for the assets. 


That’s where an estate planning lawyer can make all the difference, ensuring your wishes are fulfilled by drafting up a will or trust. This will allow you to circumvent any statutory rules that may not allow for optimal asset distribution while promoting harmony between the current and former families. It’s the one way to guarantee none of the living spouses have too much power and everyone gets their fair share. In fact, each spouse in a blended family should have a will to ensure assets are allocated properly.


While any plan is better than no plan, a well-designed and properly funded trust is the best solution for blended families. It can cater to the needs of the surviving spouse while securing a portion of assets for children from the previous marriage. One such trust, the Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust (QTIP), offers excellent asset protection and tax deductions. A QTIP trust can generate income for the surviving spouse during their lifetime and, upon their passing, distribute its holdings between mutual and previous children. Additionally, if the children from the previous marriage are minors, assets from the QTIP trust can be held in another trust for their benefit, safeguarding them from an ex-spouse’s control.

Our Process for Blended Families

Dealing with the intricacies of estate planning can be emotionally and physically draining, especially when blended families are involved. That’s why we prioritize a peace-of-mind planning process. Through a series of worksheets and meetings, our team gathers all the information we need to design a plan that fits your unique situation. We then walk you through the entire strategy before finalization, discussing every legal document, any questions or concerns, and funding options, so you can feel confident everything will be done to your specifications. 

There are countless strategies and resources that can be used to effectively allocate benefits between a new spouse and children from a prior marriage. Don’t let unnecessary disputes tear your family apart, take advantage of our experience and deep understanding of the legal landscape before conflict starts. Get in touch today and schedule your free consultation today.