As a lawyer, our first reaction is…what was Cinderella’s father thinking? He obviously didn’t have a good lawyer or a proper estate plan in place, otherwise poor Cinderella wouldn’t have ended up in the predicament in which she finds herself.
This is a typical scenario for many of our clients with blended families. “Oh, but I trust my partner completely…I want to leave everything to them and then when they pass away they can leave my child with something”. These are common words that we hear from clients, but unfortunately the reality is often a different story.
What if your partner remarries? What if they decide to spend all your money frivolously on holidays, alcohol, drugs, gambling or even worse…on the wicked step-sisters?
If your child is unable to live with their other natural parent and your new partner is their guardian, who is going to advise your child that they are eligible to make a claim under the Family Provisions Act?
What can you do? If you have a blended family, don’t leave everything to your spouse! If you own a property, leave them a life estate so that they can live there for the rest of their life, but the actual legal ownership is given to your children.
The difficulty arises where many clients have all their assets as joint assets with their new spouse (the result being that everything automatically transfers to the spouse) with nothing left over to transfer to their children. If this sounds like you, then have you considered nominating your children through your superannuation and/or life insurance, so that they will receive something from your estate?
There are many ways that you can plan for the future and ensure that your loved ones are provided for.
There is a lesson in this story for all of us, “have courage, be kind” and see your lawyer.
If you would like to live happily ever after*, please contact us for further information on your estate planning needs.
*Lawyer Disclaimer – Harriss Jones Lawyers does not guarantee that you will live happily ever after, but we will help give you peace of mind that you have planned for your family’s future.