I sat down at the table next to my husband, Mark, to overhear him ask my older cousin, “So, Sherry is Karen’s sister?”
I laughed. “Good luck with this.” I cautioned.
“Half-sister. Bob was married three times and has a couple of kids from each marriage.” Jim replied.
“And Mike is William’s cousin?” The discussion deepened.
I was born into the family and I’m still trying to figure out its dynamics.
We had our annual family Christmas this past weekend with the largest turnout in several years. It’s something I look forward to all year long – my family is wild, loud, hilarious, and diverse.
All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the innocent.
As most modern families are, we are well-blended. I have great uncles who lived vibrantly colorful lives in the 30’s and 40’s and their legacy will live on for many, many years through their descendants.
Our large family reflects this and results in a gathering of people from across the US and Europe.
Attempting to decipher through the many generations of family members and cousins twice removed damn near requires a diagram.
Blended families are beautiful and should be celebrated, but often require special attention when it comes to estate planning.
For example, in Florida, step-children are not included in the definition of “descendants” and are therefore excluded by default from inheriting unless specifically provided for.
Additionally, individuals in blended families may want to provide for their spouse as well as children from a previous marriage.
There may also be a need to make sure that none of an individual’s assets can be reached by a former spouse or, alternatively, to provide for a former spouse that would otherwise be excluded.
We encourage our clients to meet with us when contemplating remarriage to assess whether premarital agreements may be needed.
These are just a few examples of issues that blended families may present, and underscore the importance of speaking with an attorney well-versed in estate planning when designing your plan.
At My Pink Lawyer®, we will quickly identify any potential pitfalls that your family dynamics may present and address them when drafting your documents so that your goals are effectively carried out.
And, I’m returning from maternity leave after the New Year and I can’t wait to meet you!
You can schedule your Family Succession Strategy Session with us by clicking this link which will take you to our online booking calendar.
By memorializing your intent in estate planning documents and keeping them current, your desires will be crystal clear – even if your family tree remains a mystery.
Amanda “Still Trying to Explain My Family Tree to My Darling Husband” Lynch Elliott