Blended families are a way of life today. Illinois residents who are in second marriages might wish to consider these family members during their estate planning, so no one feels slighted. But it may not be that easy, since children and stepchildren often don't see eye-to-eye and there may be hard feelings no matter what.
There may be ways around this, though. Perhaps each spouse will choose to leave assets to their natural children and that will be that. However, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other, he or she will inherit the assets of his or her spouse and his or children may have to wait to get their share of the pie. That could mean many years depending upon the surviving spouse's age.
When children and stepchildren do have positive relationships with each other, a testator may choose to treat them all the same in a will. Much depends upon the individual family dynamic and how many assets are in question. Personal property seems to be the area that causes most issues, so individuals who are to receive items like personal heirlooms should be well-defined in estate planning documents.
An Illinois estate planning attorney is able to help a client who is part of a blended family to sort out all these issues. An individual will want to ensure he or she doesn't cause hard feelings for any loved ones -- whether they're biological, adopted or stepchildren. Honest communication with loved ones is one way to remedy possible problems, while another is discussing the situation with an experienced, compassionate lawyer.