Financial Planning

Financial Planning for Blended Families

October 25, 2022

In 1966, TV producer Sherwood Schwartz created The Brady Bunch after reading that 30% of marriages are blended.1 From 1969 through 1974, viewers watched Carol and Mike Brady run an integrated and loving ‘step’ household with the help of Alice, their housekeeper. But what we didn’t see is how the Bradys revised their wealth plan once they became a bunch.

Today, thirteen hundred blended families of various configurations are created each day in the U.S.2 If you or any of your children have remarried and are starting a new chapter, we share ways to address potential financial concerns and surprises.

You want to provide for your new spouse, but also leave money to your kids. A prenuptial agreement (or if you’re already married, a postnuptial agreement) is one way to indicate where you would like your assets to go when you’re gone, including how much you would like your children to get. A marital trust is another way to divvy your assets between your new spouse and your children. Or you can leave your children money through an outright gift or via life insurance.

You don’t want to leave your money to your ex-spouse. There are many stories of ex- spouses receiving assets unintentionally due to forms that were never updated. Whenever you experience a significant life event, you should review the beneficiary designations on each of your financial accounts, such as your 401(k)s, IRAs, and life insurance, to ensure your money ends up going where you’d like it to go.

You want to leave your money to your kids, but not their spouses (in the event they divorce). Ask your children to establish prenuptial or postnuptial agreements or leave your money to them through a trust.

You want your new spouse to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot. Make sure your healthcare proxy is up to date, so you are comfortable with who will be making decisions for you on your behalf.

Watch your inbox or follow us on LinkedIn for more detailed financial solutions for blended families!

If your family experiences a transition, please contact your Washington Trust Wealth Advisor to make sure your wealth plan continues to meet your evolving needs. And contact us to learn more about wealth planning!

1 Why the ‘Radical’ Brady Bunch Almost Never Got Made, Blakemore, Erin,, September 26, 2019

2 Blended But Not Broken: Step-Families, Forbes, April 21, 2021

Connect with a wealth advisor

No matter where you are in life, we can help. Get started with one of our experts today. Contact us at 800-582-1076 or submit an online form.

Contact us

This document is intended as a broad overview of some of the services provided to certain types of Washington Trust Wealth Management clients. This material is presented solely for informational purposes, and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting, actuarial or tax advice. It does not take into account any investor's particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon. Please consult with a financial counselor, an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific financial, legal or tax situation. No recommendation or advice is being given in this presentation as to whether any investment or fund is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors, or markets identified and described were, or will be, profitable.

Any views or opinions expressed are those of Washington Trust Wealth Management and are subject to change based on product changes, market, and other conditions. All information is current as of the date of this material and is subject to change without notice. This document, and the information contained herein, is not, and does not constitute, a public or retail offer to buy, sell, or hold a security or a public or retail solicitation of an offer to buy, sell, or hold, any fund, units or shares of any fund, security or other instrument, or to participate in any investment strategy, or an offer to render any wealth management services. Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results.

It is important to remember that investing entails risk. Stock markets and investments in individual stocks are volatile and can decline significantly in response to issuer, market, economic, political, regulatory, geopolitical, and other conditions. Investments in foreign markets through issuers or currencies can involve greater risk and volatility than U.S. investments because of adverse market, economic, political, regulatory, geopolitical, or other conditions. Emerging markets can have less market structure, depth, and regulatory oversight and greater political, social, and economic instability than developed markets. Fixed Income investments, including floating rate bonds, involve risks such as interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Interest rate risk is the risk that interest rates will rise, causing bond prices to fall. The value of a portfolio will fluctuate based on market conditions and the value of the underlying securities. Diversification does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss. Investors should contact a tax advisor regarding the suitability of tax-exempt investments in their portfolio.