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An Overview of Estate Planning for Blended Families

May 22, 2020 | by Matthew Rheingold, Adam Sandler

As published in Estate Planning, a Thomson Reuters publication, June 2020 Vol 47/No 6

An entry-level primer to ensure planners are addressing the special considerations of families in second (or later) relationships.

Blended families come in a variety of configurations. On one end of the spectrum the clients may be Mike and Carol Brady. On the other end of the spectrum the clients may be Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall. Many factors must be considered in a practitioner’s approach to estate planning for blended families including, but not limited to, the duration of the marriage, the ages of each client, the number of children from prior marriages or relationships, the number of children from the current marriage, the net worth of the clients individually and collectively, how assets are titled, and how the clients approach their marriage and their family. Because the circumstances of each blended family can differ so significantly, it is impractical to cover the intricacies and nuances of estate planning for each individual set of facts. Consequently, this article shall serve as a 30,000-foot view to offer tools for the estate planner’s toolbox to address many of the issues that may arise in estate planning for blended families.

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