When there is a blended family with children from multiple marriages, special considerations should be placed into the estate plan.

Without proper planning, the surviving spouse could be left without the means to provide for him or herself. Additionally, we also see lopsided distributions, which typically result in one spouses children suing the others.

With an A-B Trust, you can control your share of the estate upon death. You can provide for lifetime use of the assets to your spouse, and upon the death of the second spouse, the principal can return to your original family. The second spouse’s estate would then go to that spouse’s family. This helps assure that both sides of the family receive their proper inheritances.

Without an A-B Trust, where property is left in joint tenancy outright to a second spouse in a will, an estate can totally shift from you own family to your second spouse’s family if you happen to die shortly before your second spouse dies.

Life insurance can also be quite a powerful tool to use here. Life insurance is used a an estate planning tool mainly to quickly provide liquidity and pay estate taxes after someone passes away, but it can also used to handle a blended family situation.

In the A-B Trust example above, when Bob dies, his children will have to wait for Amy to die, before they can inherit. This can cause awkward situations, since Bob’s children will be waiting for Amy to die before they can inherit. It is particularly bad if Bob’s kids and Amy do not get along. In Bob’s case, a single life insurance policy would allow Bob’s children to receive their fair share, without them having to wait for Amy to pass away.