While every family needs a plan, estate plans are absolutely critical for blended families. Not only are there concerns about making sure the right assets go to the right people, but planning ahead can also help make the process go more smoothly when relationships are rocky.
Without a will or trust in place, when a person passes away, his or her assets are distributed according to the Texas Estate Code. When a person is married, his or her share of the property acquired during the marriage (his or her half of the community property) is inherited by the surviving spouse. UNLESS that person has children from a previous marriage or relationship. In that case, the surviving spouse inherits a quarter of the community property, with the children inheriting the other quarter. You can imagine how challenging this could become in situations where the current spouse and children from the previous marriage may not have the best relationships.
However, it gets even trickier when there is real estate involved. Under 201.002 of the Estate Code, except for community property, a surviving spouse is entitled to a life estate in 1/3 of the person’s land, while the remainder (2/3) goes to the person’s children. Imagine, now, that the spouse and the children disagree on whether the land should be sold.
More information about planning for blended families may be found here: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/10/heres-how-to-avoid-disinheriting-your-kids-after-you-remarry.html?__source=twitter%7Cmain
Contact Balmos Law with questions about planning for your family’s future.