Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, January 10, 2014

Estate Planning for Stepfamilies


With more than four in ten Americans having at least one step-relative in their family, it’s more important than ever to address step-relations when estate planning.

In re Matthew Larson Trust Agreement  highlights the importance of taking current and potential estate planning steps.  Matthew Larson’s grandparents created two trusts for him and named “the brother and sisters” of Matthew as contingent beneficiaries.  Matthew died intestate at the age of 25.  The Clairmonts then had to argue that the two daughters Matthew’s father had with his second wife should be excluded as beneficiaries.  Although the North Dakota Supreme Court ultimately reformed the trusts to include only full blood siblings, the Clairmonts had to spend much unnecessary time and money. 

See Estate Planning in the Age of Stepfamilies, ElderLawAnswers, July 3, 2013.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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