Estate Planning for a Blended Family

Law Blog

Distributing your estate is a complicated process which involves balancing your wishes with those of your family. Many of the Australian laws that regulate estate planning are outdated. That means that if you have separated from or divorced your first spouse and moved on to start a new family, estate planning can be difficult. Seeking advice from wills and estate lawyers is very important for blended families, as many of the dispositions you wish to make can become more difficult due to your first marriage. 

Power of attorney

An important component of estate planning is allocating power of attorney when you are no longer able to make decisions. In a blended family, issues will often arrive when this power of attorney is left to relatives from a previous marriage. To avoid creating rifts within your family over who can make legal decisions for you, talk to wills and estates lawyers about who can best take an unbiased position and make those decisions fairly. Updating your power of attorney frequently will ensure that no-one takes sides and creates problems later on. 


A property trust is a good way to keep your assets away from the shifting dynamics of a new marriage. By protecting your assets in a trust, you can dictate exactly who they go to and when. Wills and estate lawyers will help you to choose trustees that carry out your wishes without taking sides. Trusts are an especially useful estate planning device if you want to leave assets to children from a previous marriage who no longer make up a part of your central family.


Talk to your new spouse about the assets you have and how you want them to be distributed. Be as honest as possible about why you are making these decisions, and build a foundation of understanding. Ultimately, even the best estate planning in the world can still be vulnerable to challenge from a spouse or ex-spouse if you don't make your decisions clear. Passing on assets after you are gone will always be a touchy subject for some family members, so communication is really the key. 

Advice from wills and estate lawyers will help to smooth out any issues you foresee regarding the distribution of your estate. Building a solid, practical plan as soon as possible will solidify your wishes and ensure that your family get the assets you want them to hold. 


20 December 2017

Learning about the law

I love watching legal dramas from all different countries. I often call up my friend who is a lawyer to ask her about whether the cases I have seen on the latest drama are realistic or if they wouldn't happen that way in Australia. It's so interesting to me to see the changes that they make to make the stories flow more convincingly as well as the differences between the law in Australian compared to other countries. This blog is for other fans of legal dramas like me and has some tips on the best places to get real legal advice (hint, it's not on the TV!).