Sometimes, relationships don’t last. As families become more progressive and out of the box, blended families are slowly becoming a norm among societies worldwide. However, as the world still warms up to an unusual family setup, people might still need to consider a few things before two families decide to move in under one roof.
At first, adjustments will be challenging. However normal, it would take time for one parent’s original kids to bond with the kids of their chosen partner. Therefore, there are a few things that couples should consider before bringing their families together in the same household. Although it’s a lifetime of adjustments, it should all be worth it in the end.
1. Prevent Family Rifts
Before getting things done, make sure to put yourself in your children’s shoes. Telling them to call a stranger their new father or mother is a big adjustment for them. It isn’t normal to wake up one morning thinking that their parents starting right now will be someone they aren’t used to having around.
Parents should see that they will avoid any family rifts or conflicts while every member tries to settle in and become comfortable with the new setup. As much as possible, strive to make the household as peaceful as possible. Also, never forget to remind the kids that although their family blends in with another, nothing will change how you treat them.
2. Consider Tenancy in Common
A couple living under one roof share a family home. However, there are instances when the other half of the relationship moves in the family home from their old place. In this case, consider making the property the subject of tenants-in-common for both parties to have an individual and undivided interest in the land.
Each party will then have a right to transfer their ownership interest at any time. If something terrible happens or one of the owners dies, the new owner can acquire their share of the property, so long as it’s stated on a will.
3. Sign Up for Retirement Plans
After moving in together, it’s best to take advantage of a tax-free rollover from your spouse’s Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) by naming each other as the beneficiary. If there will be no investments or assets to pass on to your children, make the RRSP provide a legacy for the kids instead.
It will also be the best time to ensure the surviving spouse receives all the assets and investments left after the other passes away. Through a qualifying spousal testamentary trust, whoever is still alive should receive the expired partner’s properties, and all that’s left should be passed onto the children as well.
4. Pick a Trustee
Estate planning also includes the process of choosing someone to act as the family’s trustee in case something happens to the couple. For blended families, a single child from either parent’s side should serve as the trustee.
However, if they feel uncomfortable doing the task independently, other siblings could step forward. They can also act as multiple trustees to ensure everything falls in the right hands, the way you or your spouse would have wanted.
5. Sign Up for Life Insurance
A life insurance policy acts as the best way to help equalize inheritances among the children in the family. It is an effective solution to divide all the properties among the children left and guarantee fairness among everyone involved.
A blended family is not the traditional family setup that everyone knows. However, as more families practice it, the norm may change in the future and become considered as something acceptable. For now, it’s best for blended families to carefully plan how to divide or distribute their property among their surviving children or family members if ever something happens to the parents in the future. Adjusting to the setup may be challenging and complex today. However, we may see more blended families doing their best out in society more in the future.
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