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Impact of Blended Families on Estate Planning: Effective Trust Structures, Beneficiary Challenges, Litigation

A live 90-minute CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 (in 10 days)

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide estate planners with a deep and practical guide to blended families' trust and estate planning challenges. The panel will offer specific guidance on avoiding probate or beneficiary challenges, and estate planning vehicles to incorporate prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The panel will also offer a critical analysis of methods to minimize litigation risks and handling claims. It will also touch upon mechanisms to avoid a guardianship litigation.


Among the greatest challenges for estate planners is planning for clients in a second or subsequent marriage. The intricacies increase when one or both spouses have children from prior marriages and in situations where age or premarital assets vary greatly between the spouses. Effective estate planning design balances providing for the surviving spouse and either party's desire to pass premarital assets to pre-marriage children.

Because of the issues unique to subsequent marriages, many ownership structures and asset titling strategies common to first marriage estate plans may not be appropriate for second marriages. Joint tenancy property can trigger more complex probate.

Additionally, estate planning council must structure testamentary and trust documents to shield against beneficiary challenges, which are more likely when children from prior marriages are involved and may result in litigation. Estate planners should know the impact of in terrorem clauses in wills and trust operating documents and the impact guardianship proceedings have on wills, established estate planning documents.

Listen as our experienced panel provides a thorough and practical guide to the technical aspects of designing and implementing estate plans for second marriages and blended families.



  1. Estate planning challenges unique to clients in second marriages or with blended families
  2. Impact of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements on estate plans
  3. Balancing maintenance of surviving spouse with a desire to pass on premarital assets to children or other beneficiaries
  4. Protecting against beneficiary challenges and litigation, both after and during life


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What mechanisms must estate planners be aware of to protect estate plans involving blended families from beneficiary challenges?
  • What is the potential claim that can arise and what are effective strategies for handling litigation?


Brancato, Laura
Laura M. Brancato

Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone

Ms. Brancato focuses her practice on elder law, medicaid planning, estate litigation and planning and special education...  |  Read More

Attend on May 28

Cannot Attend May 28?

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video