Blended families are often the ultimate source of problems in estate litigation. When there are children from multiple marriages and stepparents who all have a potential stake in an estate, fights over the estate are more likely to occur.

Those in blended families just have fewer bonds than more traditional families.

The Financial Times recently discussed this in an advice column titled "Should I trust my wife to divide my assets fairly?" A man who was on his second marriage wanted to make sure both of his children received an equal share of his estate. The children were each from a different marriage, so the man was concerned that his second wife might not leave the same amount of money to the child from his first marriage, if he left everything to her first.

The question almost begs the answer: well, if you must ask, then you have your answer.

That is not to say that stepparents can never be trusted to divide everything equally.  However, the real trust factor to be concerned about, is not the trust between the husband and wife. The real concern should be the trust between the stepparent and the stepchild. The better they get along and trust each other, the more likely they will work together without fighting over an estate.

It is normally best not to leave things up to trust. Estate planning attorneys can give you many different options for making sure everyone in your family is appropriately taken care of, regardless whether they trust each other.

Reference: Financial Times (Feb. 6, 2018) "Should I trust my wife to divide my assets fairly?"