Offices in Ottawa and Perth
(613) 722-1500

CONTACT US (613) 722-1500

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

Estate Planning: How to Help Blended Families Avoid Conflict

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Estate Planning: How to Help Blended Families Avoid Conflict

By:

Posted May 28, 2018

If you are part of a blended family, you should consider how that might impact your estate plan.  You or your spouse may have different priorities and obligations in the event of the death of one of you.  In order to avoid conflict between surviving family members, it is important to document your wishes in signed, legal documents to ensure your plan is clear and can be put into place by your estate trustee.

Below you will find some things to consider when engaging in estate planning as part of a blended family:

  • Obtain advice from a lawyer on what your obligations for support may be in the event of your death. Do you have children or a former spouse who are entitled to support?  How does your obligation to support a first family coincide with your obligations to a second family? This information should be incorporated into your estate plan to avoid costly litigation against your estate.
  • Consider what legal documents you should have in place to prevent claims against your estate. For example, you should consider the need for a Separation Agreement with your former spouse (for common law and married spouses), as well as a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement with your new partner.  A Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement will apply in the event of death, as well as separation.  Of course, you should prepare a Will to govern the administration of your estate.  It is important to ensure that any agreements you prepare work together with your will and estate plan.
  • Speak to your lawyer about preparing Mutual Wills. Mutual Wills are any two (or more) wills which are mutually binding. This means that following the death of the first person, the manner in which the survivor can dispose of property or make changes to an estate plan are limited by the agreement made with the deceased.  For example, in blended families, spouses who want to ensure their first family benefits from his or her estate may prepare Mutual Wills.
  • Review your life insurance and pension plan benefits to determine how these will be distributed on your death and whether any changes to beneficiary designations can or should be made to meet your obligations.

This blog post was written by Kate Wright.  Kate is a member of the Family Law, Wills and Estates and Litigation teams.  She can be reached at 613-369-0383 or at kate.wright@mannlawyers.com.

More Resources

Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Generally, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) has been interpreted to protect non-unionized employees from “temporary” lay offs unless their employment contract permits such a[...]
Blog |
Business Law

By: 

Posted October 20, 2021

On October 19, 2021, the new Ontario Business Registry System launched. This new online registry now enables businesses and not-for-profit corporations to directly access services[...]
Blog |
Environmental Law

By: 

Posted October 14, 2021

In the decision of Greenpeace Canada (2471256 Canada Inc. v. Ontario (Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks), 2021 ONSC 4521, released September 3, 2021,[...]
Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Posted October 1, 2021

This blog continues our exploration of the potential employment law consequences stemming from the degree of control a party exerts within a variety of business[...]
Blog |
Personal Injury

By: 

Posted September 27, 2021

Personal Injury lawyers and their clients are all too familiar with the carnage and suffering caused by impaired drivers.  Canada has the worst rate of[...]
Blog |
Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Business Law

By: 

Posted September 24, 2021

As is noted by the Court of Appeal in McEwen (Re), released August 12, 2021, referred to here as “Traders”, the BIA is a complete[...]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Name*
Consent*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.