Blended families are no longer unique in American culture. Many of today’s relationships involve children from outside a current relationship, who then become step-children for one and/or the other partner. If you are married or partnered, and there are children from outside your current relationship, an estate planning attorney will be able to help you envision the path of your or your spouse’s assets, regardless of who passes away first. Speaking to an estate planning attorney will enable you to get a grasp on your asset distribution objectives and the most appropriate approach to use in getting there. Once a couple and their attorney identify the best path forward, executing the plan with legal documents comes next. If the couple intends to keep any of their pre-relationship assets separate, with each partner passing inheritable assets to their own children, that scenario will need to be planned for as well. Significant problems can occur when a biological parent and stepparent make identical wills simultaneously. Upon one parent’s passing, the surviving parent could change the estate plan to enable all children to inherit equally or to provide preferential treatment to their biological heirs. The best way to avoid potential undesirable outcomes to your estate is to plan for how to deal with the problems before they occur. The goal is to protect everyone’s interests, including those of any children from outside the current relationship. Planning and implementing the structure of your estate solution takes time and careful thought. Arrange to speak to your estate planning attorney about how best to handle your blended family and any issues that may arise. To learn more, contact: Maria B. Hafford Attorney at Law Hafford Elder Law Planning 3401 Professional Park Drive Marion, Illinois 62959 618-997-898