Proper estate planning is especially crucial for individuals who have remarried and have a blended family. In such situations, there are several potential complexities and risks that need to be addressed to ensure that all family members are provided for and that your wishes are carried out effectively. Let’s explore the benefits of estate planning in this context and the dangers of not taking any action:

  1. Benefits of Blended-Family Trust: A blended-family trust is a valuable tool in estate planning for blended families. By creating such a trust, you can ensure that your assets are used for the benefit of your current spouse during their lifetime while still protecting the interests of your children from your previous marriage. You can designate specific assets or portions of the trust to go to your children upon your spouse’s death, providing for both your current spouse’s needs and your children’s future financial security.
  2. Risk of Disinheriting Children from Prior Marriage: If you leave all your assets to your new spouse without a proper plan, there’s a risk that your children from your previous marriage could be disinherited entirely should your new spouse outlive you. This can create significant financial hardship and emotional distress for your children.
  3. Protecting Your Loved Ones: Estate planning allows you to articulate your wishes clearly and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your intentions. Without a proper plan, your assets may be distributed according to state laws, which may not align with your desires or priorities. This could lead to unintended consequences and may not adequately provide for your spouse or children from both marriages.
  4. Protecting Your New Spouse: If you do not update your estate plan after remarrying, your new spouse may not be adequately provided for in the event of your death. A will created during your prior marriage might not account for your new spouse’s needs and rights as a surviving spouse, potentially leaving them financially vulnerable.
  5. Flexibility and Customization: Blended-family trusts can be highly flexible, allowing you to tailor the terms to fit your unique family dynamics and needs. You can appoint a trustee to manage the trust and ensure that it is administered according to your wishes, providing a level of control and protection for your beneficiaries.
  6. Avoiding Conflict and Uncertainty: Proper estate planning can help prevent potential conflicts among family members after your passing. Clear instructions in your will or trust can minimize misunderstandings and disagreements between your current spouse and children from your previous marriage, as well as between step-siblings.
  7. Inadequate Protection for Stepchildren: Similarly, a will created during your prior marriage may not include your new stepchildren as beneficiaries. Without proper estate planning, your stepchildren may be left without any inheritance or financial support, even if you intended to provide for them.

In summary, proper estate planning is essential for individuals in blended families to safeguard their loved ones and ensure their assets are distributed as intended. Failing to take action and not updating your estate plan after remarriage can lead to family conflicts, inadequate protection for spouses and stepchildren, and the risk of disinheriting your children from a prior marriage. A blended-family trust is a valuable option that provides protection, flexibility, and peace of mind, ensuring your estate benefits both your current spouse and your children from previous marriages according to your wishes. It is strongly advised to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive plan that addresses all these considerations and protects the interests of your blended family.

Advanced estate planning today can give you peace of mind – knowing that if something catastrophic were to happen to you, your family would be protected by your property being distributed according to your wishes. The Schaller Law Firm can give you peace of mind by drafting a revocable living trust.


A blended family trust, also known as a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust or a marital trust, offers several valuable benefits that protect loved ones and help eliminate the risk of a new spouse disinheriting children from a prior marriage. Here are five key advantages of utilizing a blended family trust:

  1. Protection of Spouse: A blended family trust ensures that your current spouse is taken care of financially during their lifetime. By designating them as the income beneficiary of the trust, they can receive income from the trust assets, which can include interest, dividends, or rental income from trust properties. This provides financial security and support for your spouse’s needs, even after your passing.
  2. Control Over Distribution: The trust allows you to dictate how the trust assets will be distributed after your spouse’s death. You can specify that the remaining trust assets will pass on to your children from a prior marriage or other beneficiaries of your choosing. This control ensures that your wishes are carried out, and your children are protected from the risk of being disinherited.
  3. Protection of Children’s Inheritance: A blended family trust safeguards your children’s inheritance from any potential claims or control by your new spouse’s family or future spouses. Once the trust is established, the assets designated for your children are legally separated from your new spouse’s estate, protecting your children’s financial interests.
  4. Minimization of Estate Taxes: A blended family trust can be an effective estate planning tool to minimize estate taxes. By using the trust, you can take advantage of estate tax exemptions and defer taxes until the death of the second spouse. This can help preserve more of your assets for your loved ones rather than being subject to hefty estate taxes.
  5. Flexibility and Customization: A blended family trust is flexible and can be tailored to meet the unique needs and circumstances of your blended family. You can specify how the trust’s income is distributed to your surviving spouse and outline the terms for the eventual distribution of assets to your children. This customization ensures that the trust aligns with your family’s dynamics and your desired outcomes.

It’s essential to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney when setting up a blended family trust to ensure that it is properly structured and aligned with your specific goals and intentions. With careful planning and the implementation of a blended family trust, you can protect your loved ones, provide for your current spouse, and eliminate the risk of your children from a prior marriage being disinherited, creating a comprehensive and secure estate plan for your blended family’s future.

Take the Next Step …

Contact attorney Bob Schaller and schedule a FREE consultation. Zoom conference or in-office conferencing is available. Identify the how you want your property distributed.

The Schaller Law Firm drafts the revocable blended family trust, and any other estate planning documents requested.

Attorney Schaller reviews the draft estate planning documents with you and makes any necessary changes. Then, your estate planning documents are signed, witnessed, and notarized.

You keep your original revocable blended family trust in a safe place, like a lockable metal box or drawer in your home, safe-deposit box, or other place you store valuable papers and jewelry.  A copy can be retained by the Schaller Law Firm for safe keeping.

Celebrate knowing your estate planning documents are completed. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing your wishes will be implemented.

Complicated? You bet.

You should have an estate planning attorney on your side. Tap into Attorney Schaller’s 37+ years of legal experience. He wrote the book on client satisfaction.

FREE consultation!  Start protecting yourself and your family with a complete estate plan. Call to schedule your appointment, request an appointment through the Contact Us page, or book an appointment with the convenient online booking system.