Brady Bunch Inheritance Needs Legal Protection
The popular long-running 1970s TV comedy The Brady Bunch was the first to depict a blended family of a happily married couple, each with three kids of their own from a previous marriage.
Such families were relatively rare in those days, but nowadays blended families of all types are common – often with even more complex origins such as children from several different previous partners.
As we now tend to live longer, we are also seeing more people aged in their 70s and 80s remarry. Their children are adults, and they may have previous spouses or partners still alive.
All of this can make issues of inheritance, wills and estate planning much more complicated and challenging to satisfy those involved. More and more cases of bitterly disputed wills and inheritances are appearing before court.
The best idea is to plan ahead to avoid such stressful and unpleasant family conflicts. Sometimes what you want to happen to your estate when you die will not go the way you want as there may be legal grounds to challenge your will if it hasn’t been carefully thought out.
For instance, on your death will the children of your new spouse be able to claim part of the wealth you acquired before you married their mother?
It would be wise to get legal advice on the best estate planning strategy that best fits your own individual situation.
You may find that a Testamentary Trust best fits your situation, particularly if you have young children or want to provide for someone who needs ongoing medical care. The Trust can be structured so that payments are made from the trust fund for years to support these people, then divided up among the family when the support is no longer needed.
For older couples, you may wish to have the trust provide an income for your spouse until they die, and then be divided among your children.
You may consider pre-nuptial agreements – properly known as Binding Financial Agreements – which lay down your wishes on dividing assets should you split up.
The Brady Bunch never had an episode showing the Bradys sitting down with an estate planning lawyer to sort out an orderly, equitable and fair distribution of their wealth.
It mightn’t make great TV, but it would be the smart thing to do.
If you are part of a blended family and wish to speak to a lawyer experienced in estate planning, feel free to contact a member of the Stacks Wealth Protection Team at a Stacks Law Firm office near you.