If you have a blended family – multiple marriages, children from each, an estate plan is an absolute necessity. In a situation where there are children from a prior marriage, it is very important that there be some type of estate plan so that the parents’ wishes are in writing, and all of the children involved are protected.
In this type of situation one of the ways that you can ensure that everyone involved is protected and that your wishes are known is through a trust. And one of the main problems people come across when setting up a trust for a blended family is who will be the trustee.
There are a number of different ways to handle this. You could name one child from the mother’s side and one child from the father’s side. These two children would act as co-trustees of the trust estate. If there is one child that is responsible, one that you can trust to be fair with everyone, you could name that child as the trustee. Another option would be to name another relative or friend as trustee.
If there does not seem to be a way to name someone as trustee and feel comfortable that all of the children will be treated fairly, you can always name a bank or trust company to administer the trust. Regardless, you may also want to consider naming a bank or trust company as a secondary choice. This way if your first choice does not work, you do have this backup.
When it concerns blended families, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced estate attorney. Your estate plan is very important if you have a blended family, and it will also be extremely complex. Blended families seem to have far more disputes when it comes to their parents’ estate and will than other types of families. It is very common for one side to feel that they are being treated unfairly or being cheated out of their share. To avoid this you need to ensure that you have a solid estate plan in place that will protect all of your loved ones.
Attorney at Law