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Blended families often have an increased risk of a will challenge

Getting remarried when you already have a family can benefit you and your children. They get the support of having a second adult in the household, while you have the comfort that comes from a partnership during a demanding time in your life. If you remarry after your children move out, you have companionship, while they have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you aren't alone.

Unfortunately, remarrying can lead to strain in the family later on, especially when it comes to financial concerns after your death. The later in life you remarry, the more likely it is for your children to resent the inheritance that you leave behind for your spouse or vice versa. In other words, your family may be at increased risk for a challenge of your last will or estate plan if people are unhappy with the terms.

Children may challenge an estate if their stepparent reduces their inheritance

Instead of seeing your new spouse as a source of social support and hope for you as you age, your children may instead view your new spouse as a drain on your financial resources. Again, the later in life you remarry and the more significant the discrepancy between your age and the age of your new spouse, the more likely it is that your children will question your spouse's motive and resent their involvement in your estate.

If your spouse serves as a caretaker, your children could use that position as grounds to allege undue influence, particularly if you change your will later in life. In some situations, unhappy children may even claim outright fraud in order to get the courts to review or possibly throw out a will that doesn't favor them.

Careful planning and being open can reduce familial conflict

The more familiar your loved ones are with your intentions as you age, the less likely they are to wind up shocked, angry or disappointed by the actual terms included in your estate plan. Remember that your spouse will absolutely need support after you die but that your children expect to be beneficiaries.

Ideally, you can make arrangements where assets from your estate pass back to your children after your spouse dies. Placing your house in a trust and allowing for your spouse to retain tenancy for the duration of their life is one way to manage this tricky situation. That way, the children know that your spouse won't liquidate assets, while your spouse has the security of knowing they have someplace to live and access to the basic comforts they have grown to expect.

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