Protecting Our Clients And Their Legacy Since 1991
Planning for Blended Families
Serving Families throughout Richmond, Texas and the Surrounding Areas
Times have changed. In the new millennium, whether due to the death of a spouse or through divorce, blended families now outnumber traditional nuclear families. And the number is likely to grow, based on current statistics and trends.
Many blended families face unique social, psychological and economic challenges. As a result, over 60% of second marriages end in divorce. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations and support groups dedicated to helping blended families with these challenges.
If you already have an estate plan created when you were “previously” married, then we can help bring it up-to-code to reflect your new wedding vows. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the critical estate planning challenges confronting blended families. These challenges include disinheriting your ex-spouse and protecting your own children.
Without proper legal planning, your ex-spouse (as surviving parent/guardian) would likely be appointed by the probate court to manage the inheritance you leave to your minor children. To make matters worse, what if your children later predecease your ex-spouse, and are single and childless at that time? Who would inherit your assets then? That is right … your ex-spouse, as the next-of-kin of your children.
Chances are you made a few solemn promises to your new spouse on your wedding day. Among them were promises to be there through thick and thin, personally and financially. In the absence of a premarital agreement to maintain separate assets, most spouses in blended families tend to blend their wealth. For example, they title their respective assets in the names of both spouses and also designate one another as the primary beneficiary of their respective retirement plans and life insurance policies.
Warning: If you predecease your new spouse, then you may forever disinherit your own children from your share of such blended wealth! Thereafter, upon the death of your new spouse, your assets may be inherited by your stepchildren, or even by your new spouse’s next spouse and their children. Yes, things can get complicated – and fast!
Regardless of whether children are reared in a traditional nuclear family or in a blended family, great care should be given to protect any inheritance both for them and from them. For starters, wealth representing a lifetime of your hard work and thrift can be squandered in very short order. Dollars earned just spend differently than dollars inherited. In addition to good old-fashioned squandering, an inheritance can quickly vanish through divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies.
Fortunately, with proper (and very careful) estate planning, you can both honor your vows to your new spouse and provide an inheritance that is protected for and even from your own children.
Probate and estate administration are the processes through which estate assets are transferred after death. Assets to be transferred under terms of a will go through probate.
“We are so grateful for the recommendation to contact Petrosewicz Law Firm, PC to get us through our overwhelming situation. Norma was extremely helpful and patient in outlining our different options and answering the many questions we had. She was able to make comp licated scenarios easy to understand. Eventually we decided on what we wanted and Norma took the initiative and was very proactive navigating us through the whole process, making sure we completed/submitted everything, and taking care of any/all loose issues. She is very smart and also has a sense of humor, which is great when you're dealing with stressful situations.
Her group is highly professional and always friendly, answered any questions we had and any problems were brought to resolution with no delays. We will definitely keep in touch with Norma for any future issues that may come. Thank you Norma for all you and your group did for us.”
Scott and Jan
“Now that we have completed our estate planning, we wanted to thank you and your team for the exceptional work. Your patient, extensive time spent counseling us on smart options was most astute and creative. We also appreciated Benecia Flores’ patient tutoring in what the documents meant. The legal-speak can be confusing, and you both helped us understand not just the "what" but also the "why" of our documents and planning. Elizabeth Hernandez orchestrated the meetings, document signing and final deliverables ever so efficiently! Thank you all for your support.”
Sue and Bob S.
“Norma is kind, professional, and takes her time with her clients. She is willing to listen and has her clients' best interest at heart. I highly recommend her estate planning service.”
“We could not have been more satisfied with our estate planning experience. Norma is extremely knowledgeable and was very thorough in helping us understand the process and our options. She and her staff are professional, friendly and a delight to work with in every way. We give them our highest recommendation.”
Jim & Stacye L.
“Jamie and I had the opportunity to use Norma for our family trust. She is very knowledgeable and can put your mind at ease. Our situation was very complicated in my opinion. We both finished knowing that we had made the right decisions. We both highly recommend her for estate planning.”
Jason and Jamie S.
“Professional estate planning law office with a very friendly staff. Norma Petrosewicz is extremely knowledgeable on estate planning. So glad we used her to help with our wills. Highly recommend her for your estate planning.”
“From our very first Estate Planning session with Norma Petrosewicz, she made us feel so comfortable and at ease and yet confident in her being able to accomplish all our Estate goals. Norma has a unique ability to make her clients feel like they have been friends for a long time. Norma and her entire staff are very knowledgeable and capable of answering any questions a client might have. We have and will continue to recommend Norma to our family and friends because of the very positive experience we had.”
Glenn and Brenda D.
“Norma was invaluable in helping our family through the emotional task of probating my husband’s will. She along with her team were very professional, thorough and always kept us informed while walking us through the process with patience and compassion. Norma answered our questions, no matter how trivial and educated us on matters that allowed us as a family to make the best, informed decisions. I also feel a great relief in knowing that my estate planning is in complete order too.”
“When faced with family estate [ will ] planning and how to get things done so all issues are properly addressed, and loved ones are not left with that task at a very difficult time, it can feel like, and it is a daunting and emotional task.
My husband and I were very fortunate to be referred to the Petrosewicz Law Firm. Norma and her staff have walked us through every single small detail, of the different options and advantages to each option. To have such in depth knowledge, expertise and assistance at one’s disposal, of not only the legal but the accounting side makes a huge difference in all the planning and peace of mind. The Petrosewicz Law Firm has made the experience of estate planning a clear and painless process.
We highly recommend the Petrosewicz Law Firm to anyone trying to get “their house in order” without being overwhelmed by the entire process while receiving invaluable support along the way.”