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Professional Advisors Resolve the Complexity of Estate Planning for Blended Families

Jul 20, 2017 11:00:10 AM Sheri MacMillan Estate Planning

Beautiful family at the beach-787916-edited.jpegThere is a lot of confusion when it comes to Wills and blended families, which is entirely understandable because the situation can be complicated.

The first consideration when determining how your blended family will affect your Will, is location. Laws regarding Wills and how marriage and divorce affect them, differ from province to province.

In Alberta, for example, when you are married but separated and not yet divorced from your ex-spouse, nothing changes, and if you were to pass away, your Will would be upheld.

When you get divorced, any provisions regarding your ex-spouse are revoked. Everything else will be preserved. Keep in mind, that while the results of these rules may seem satisfactory, failing to readdress your Will after a divorce may result in an incomplete Will, or one that does not reflect your wishes.

If you get remarried, your Will remains the same - any provisions for your ex-spouse will be revoked, but the remainder of your Will is maintained.

In Ontario, separation and divorce are similarly handled. However, if you get remarried, your entire Will is revoked, unless of course, your Will makes reference to the upcoming marriage, as well as the name of your soon-to-be spouse (i.e. the Will was created between the time you got divorced and the time you got remarried).

And that is just the beginning. Once you have determined which legislation governs your Will and Estate, you need to start thinking about a plethora of other factors. Here are just a few:

  • Do you have children from multiple marriages?
  • How old are your children?
  • Are any of them financially dependent?
  • Do your children require guardians? (i.e. are they minors?)
  • Are any of your children receiving government benefits?
  • Do you want to pay for your children’s education or wedding?
  • Will your children live with your first or second spouse?
  • Do you have any estranged children?
  • Does your spouse have more wealth than you?
  • Do you want to leave money to your children or your surviving spouse?
  • Is your spouse dependent on you?

What If I Don't Have a Will or Estate Plan?

If you pass away without a Will or Estate Plan, the Government will dictate how your assets are divided amongst your next of kin.

This may result in your Estate being divided in a way that you would not have done so yourself. In addition, the Government’s ruling rarely considers tax consequences, meaning that you will be subject to the maximum amount of taxes and probate, reducing the amount of wealth left to your loved ones.

If you are planning your Estate around a blended family, or you have not yet created an Estate Plan or Will, please take advantage of our complimentary consultation. Our professional advisors will take the opportunity to get to know you better and provide insights into your specific family situation.

At MacMillan Estate Planning, our team of professional trust and estate practitioners, chartered accountants, financial planners, and legal professionals look forward to assisting you with the design of your estate plan and will ensure you build, protect, and enjoy your wealth. The information provided is general and may not be suited to your objectives or sufficient to ensure the protection of you and your family. You should not act on this information without providing MacMillan Estate Planning with the opportunity to ensure that it is suitable for your unique situation.

Sheri MacMillan

Written by Sheri MacMillan

Sheri MacMillan is the Founder & President of MacMillan Estate Planning Corp, Canada’s elite estate planning firm and is a highly respected industry leader

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