Preparing for transition of wealth can be difficult even with a single spouse and a few children, but what happens when remarriage and stepchildren are added into the mix? Blended families in Ontario face unique estate planning challenges. With the growing number of such families across the province and country, many people must take these complexities into account when preparing their wills.
Keeping a will updated is extremely important for people whose family situations are in flux. Divorce, remarriage and the birth of a new child are all occasions in which wills should be revisited. Those who neglect to do this could find an ex-spouse having a claim on their estate, or may leave stepchildren they raised with nothing. Making a habit of reviewing documents during such milestones as well as regularly scheduling time to go over them every couple of years is a wise choice. These documents may include estate plans, life insurance and bank account access.
Trusts are common in estate planning for blended families. Co-naming a spouse on a trust will allow access to the funds right away, rather than waiting for probate to take place. This can help families sustain their lifestyle should a sudden death occur.
Wills and trusts can be used to customize the distribution of a person's assets depending on their family situation and personal wishes. For example, some may prefer to leave biological children a larger percentage of remaining assets than stepchildren, while others prefer to treat all children equally. Working with a lawyer to draft wills in accordance with Ontario estate law can help people ensure their wishes are followed after they pass, regardless of blended family complexities.