Attorney James “Jim” W. Garrett
Location: Richmond, VA
Phone Number: (
Jim Garrett helps successful people in “blended” families plan their estates to reflect the couple’s new relationship and the commitments they’ve made to each other and their respective children.
What is a blended family? A blended family is one where two people are partners (married and unmarried) and at least one of the partners has children who are not birth children of the other partner.
Jim’s passion is the pursuit of a good estate-planning result. In Jim’s opinion, a good estate-planning result happens when assets are transferred following death as intended, taxes are minimized, and where family relationships aren’t harmed.
Unfortunately, good results don’t happen nearly as often as they should in blended families for lack of planning. When a person takes on a new partner, especially when he or she has children from a previous relationship, the complexities in estate planning multiply. While holding assets jointly with a spouse often makes sense in a first marriage, it doesn’t work so well in a blended family situation. Without proper planning, the children who will most likely receive an inheritance are the children whose parent outlives the other partner!
Mark Twain was right when he said, “You never really know someone until you share an inheritance with them!” The truth is: All families experience some dysfunction when a family member becomes incapacitated or dies. While “healthy” families quickly recover, already “dysfunctional” families become even more dysfunctional. Blended families are particularly prone to dysfunction because of the array of relationships involved. This is why having a well-thought-out estate plan is so crucial for blended families.
Jim has practiced law for over 30 years and narrowed his practice to trusts and estates when he joined Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC in 2009. Jim presently serves as the firm’s President.
- University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1989
- Wheaton College (IL), B.A., 1986