To be quite honest, when it comes to your inheritance, it does affect you. You also shouldn’t feel bad about wondering. There is sentiment to the life your parents shared and your childhood. An estate is so much more than money. An individual’s estate is a legacy that only true loved ones can understand. Losing it, no matter how small or large it is, can be devastating.
The bottom line is that blended families do, in fact, face some more complex planning needs. The second marriage can have a significant impact on one’s intended estate plan. You see, even if you haven’t established a Last Wil land Testament of your own, rest assured that the State of Michigan has prepared one for you. It’s called Intestate Succession. It is a law that sets out the plan for where and how much of your assets go to your ‘family’. Also note, “Family” is well defined, so hopefully you don’t want any friends or charities to benefit from your estate. Even if you do nothing, the law already says who gets what of your stuff, and if you are marrying for a second time, the what and who changes. http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-386-1998-II-1
Furthermore, there are homestead and family allowances (a set amount of money entitled to) that the surviving spouse can take against the estate- with priority over designations in a Last Will and Testament. So even an established estate plan can be disrupted by these allowances if they are not carefully planned for. If you, like me, have a blended family, and do not have an estate plan in place, or moreso if you have a plan in place and think ‘ah it’s just fine’, give us a call. A plan tailored to fit the needs specific to blended families is absolutely essential to achieve your intent.
For more information, please contact a Kreis Enderle attorney in our Estate Planning group.