Forbes:  “How married couples and domestic partners structure their estate plans can make the difference between whether a family stays connected or gets blown apart after the first spouse or partner passes away. Things can be even more complicated and volatile in blended families – when there are step and half siblings and stepparents in the mix.

The first issue for all couples to resolve is whether to be represented jointly by the same estate planner or for each of you to have your own lawyer. Joint representation can be more cost-effective, since you only have to pay one set of estate planners, and more efficient–working together enables you to divvy up tasks as you prepare to meet with your estate planners. Another advantage is that it builds greater trust and more open communication between the two of you, and possibly with all of the children in your lives.”