Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Estate Planning for Blended Families

Question: How is estate planning for blended families different than for non-blended families?

Answer: For those in a second marriage with children from a prior relationship or marriage, stating your intentions clearly in your estate plan becomes a very important matter.   The objective of any estate plan is to devise a process that promotes family harmony among different members of the family.  However, in a blended family scenario, I believe devising a plan to appease all parties becomes that much more essential to avoid everything from ill-will to litigation down the road. Of the many questions to consider, some include:

  • Are there particular assets that you want your children to receive?
  • Should your children receive certain assets soon after your death, or at the death of your spouse (if your spouse survives you?)
  • Would it be problematic for children to have to ‘wait’ to receive assets until your spouse’s death?
  • Do your children have current needs that could outweigh the resources of your spouse?
  • Will your spouse leave assets remaining at her death to your children or is there a strong possibility that she might disinherit your children?

Comment: There are planning techniques available to protect assets for the benefit of your children and give your spouse the ability to enjoy those assets.  Keep in mind that personal items are invariably a source of particular conflict so a good plan becomes that much more essential.




As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Casual | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.





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