When you or your partner have children from a prior relationship, some advance planning is critically important. Some thought must be given to likely sources of conflict between one’s adult children and a surviving spouse or domestic partner. The biggest source of contention involves the house. Adult children often believe it should be left to them- especially if it was their childhood home. On the other hand, the new (younger) spouse may contend that the house should be left to them and they, in turn, will leave it to the adult children. In an attempt to forge a compromise solution, some people opt to give the surviving partner a “life estate” in the property. This is a huge mistake. If I give my younger husband lifetime ownership in my home, my children will not be able to step foot on the property- even if the surviving spouse is in a nursing home or has moved away! Better to include a carefully drawn right of occupancy to the property with my estate planning.