Taxation & Estate Planning

When you've seen one blended family-you've seen one blended family

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Many lawyers talk about 'blended families' as if they are all pretty much the same. Like, if you have seen one, you have seen them all. But that is not the case.

There is the classic style of blended family where two persons (who may be widows/widowers and/or divorcees) come together bringing with them one or more children from their previous relationships.

Or it could be that only one person brings children from a previous relationship.

In either of the above situations, the couple may also end up having one or more children together-who may be significantly younger than the other children from their respective previous relationships.

It could be that the couple is similar in age, or it may be that there is a significant age difference between them (particularly in the case where the older person has children of a previous relationship, and the younger person does not). Sometimes, the younger spouse is also younger than the children of their partner.

Each of the above situations can be further complicated by issues such as:

  • children being adopted, or not being adopted, particularly in a 'step' relationship
  • a previous relationship having ended due to divorce rather than by the passing of the previous spouse
  • the previous and/or current relationship being legal or de facto
  • LGBTQIA relationships
  • multiple de facto spouses and their respective children are involved
  • one of more children having special needs
  • animosity between children from different relationships of their parents/step-parents
  • one partner having significantly more or less personal wealth than the other
  • assets being held in structures such as family trusts and self-managed superannuation funds
  • the state or territory in which the parties are domiciled
  • the types and locations of the assets in the estate of the Will-maker (also referred to as a 'testator'), which will determine which laws of which state or territory will apply in the event of a challenge to the Will.