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WILLS - Blended Families
    It is not uncommon today for people to have been married more than once.  Frequently, a person will have children from one or more prior relationships in addition to children born of the current marriage.  When the present spouse also has children from prior relationships, things get a little more complicated.

    Generally, Wills for people with blended families require careful attention and must be individually tailored to meet the needs of the specific situation.  Wills for blended families often include specific bequests, multiple classes of beneficiaries, and quite possibly one or more trusts. 

    People with blended families usually want to make sure their current spouse is provided for during his or her lifetime, and they also want to make sure that any children from the present marriage, as well as their children (and often their spouse's other children) from earlier relationships, receive appropriate inheritances. 

    In some cases, couples with blended families may elect to enter into so-called "contractual" Wills.  The key distinguishing feature of a contractual Will is that after the first spouse dies, if the surviving spouse accepts any benefits under the deceased spouse's contractual Will, the surviving spouse cannot change his or her Will.  Contractual Wills typically are mirror images of each other, the husband and wife must execute them at the same time.

    During the first visit we will discuss the client's particular situation, and the client will provide me with the names and addresses of his or her intended beneficiaries, as well as other relevant information which will be incorporated into the Will.  I will then prepare a first draft of the Will and forward it to the client for review.  After the client has had a chance to read and think about the effects of the Will as drafted, there are usually changes to be made.  The client will schedule another appointment to discuss the potential changes, and following that appointment I will forward a revised draft to the client.  Depending upon the complexity of the client's situation and what the client is hoping to accomplish through his or her Will, there may follow several more drafts and revisions before the final Will is ready for signature. 

This page was written on 04190.

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