The rise of blended families — those made up of different families brought together over time by new relationships — means personal finances are much more complicated than they used to be.

The will-making process can be more challenging for those with blended families because sometimes the beneficiaries are not on good terms with each other.

A will can also be challenged depending on where the beneficiaries are deemed to be domiciled. In England and Wales, a person can leave assets in a will to whomever they wish, but this rule does not apply globally and differs between jurisdictions.

Russell-Cooke partner Andrew Godfrey comments in the Financial Times on the high-profile dispute regarding the will of French rock star Johnny Hallyday who bequeathed his estate to his fourth wife and their children under a Californian will, excluding his children from an earlier marriage.

Inheritance planning and blended families: a tricky mix is available to read on the Financial Times website via subscription.

Andrew is a partner in the private client group. He is the present chair of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Cross Border Estates Group and advises on cross-border estate administration, cross-border estate planning, trusts and international tax.