As I celebrated my fifth-year anniversary in the practice of law recently, the occasion caused me to reflect on what may be ahead for me as well as what has already transpired. And if the past five years are any measure, then I count myself as one lucky guy when I look to the future.
One accomplishment that I am particularly proud of is that I’m writing this column at all.
Because it is commonplace for divorced (or widowed) spouses to remarry, blended families – where one or both spouses have children from prior marriages – are now quite common. I am often asked by clients how they can protect their children from prior marriages in situations that involve guardianship and inheritance.
In my experience, individuals who remarry after divorce often have legitimate concerns about what will happen if they die and their children are caught between and ex-spouse and a stepparent.
As an estate planning attorney, it seems that about 75% of my clients (or potential clients) don’t have a will – a percentage that continually surprises me with so much at stake.
Not having a will is particularly risky for parents with minor children. To die without a will is to die intestate. Without the direction that a will provides, a judge will decide who will serve as guardian of minor children.
The early stages of a divorce are especially difficult for clients because of all the uncertainty caused by separation and divorce – where will the parties and children live; how will family expenses be paid; and, more importantly, when will each parent have time with their children?