Blended Family Trust

Estate planning can be complex for blended families. Luckily, with GoGo Estate's Blended Family Plan, it doesn't have to be. Learn more about how a Blended Family Trust from GoGo Estate can protect your assets.

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The Basics

The Brady Bunch is more and more a reality in today's changing landscape. More couples are adding step-children to the mix, which makes planning a little more complicated. The last thing anyone wants to think about, or even expects, is having their spouse write their children out of the estate. And while most people trust their significant others not to do that, experience tells us that's not always the case. That is why GoGo Estate created the Blended Family Trust.

A Revocable Living Trust is an estate planning arrangement designed to achieve a number of goals. The three primary benefits that a Revocable Living Trust provides:

  1. Probate Avoidance/Efficient Wealth Transfer
  2. Preservation of Assets
  3. Privacy Protection

With a Blended Family Trust, there is an additional benefit: Ensuring that each spouse's family line receives their assets.

To properly unlock all of these benefits, the Blended Family Trust must be "funded." This means that your assets must be directly transferred into the Trust or name the Trust as beneficiary. While this process may seem tedious, GoGo Estate provides Complex Plan purchasers appropriate guides to help them fund their trust.

Who Should Have a Blended Family Trust?

Generally, the following types of customers could benefit from having a Revocable Living Trust:

  1. Blended families (duh!)
  2. Those with minor children (i.e., those under 18)
  3. Those with special needs children
  4. Those with more than $250,000
  5. Those concerned with an efficient transfer of wealth
  6. Those who want to protect assets for future generations

The Details

The Blended Family Trust provided in the Complex Plan is a joint revocable living trust governed by a trust document known as the Trust Agreement. The Trust Agreement acts like the bylaws for the Trust, detailing how the assets held in the Trust will be administered both during life and after death.

While both of you are living, you both have the power to distribute trust assets as you see fit. However, if one of you or both of you become incapacitated, someone else (known as the "successor trustee") distributes trust assets for your health, support, and maintenance. The successor trustee operates in a fiduciary capacity to you, meaning that all of their actions must have your best interests in mind.

What distinguishes the Blended Family Trust from the Revocable Living Trust found in the Standard Plan is how assets are distributed upon the death of the first spouse to die. When one spouse dies, two different trusts are created: (1) the Survivor's Trust and (2) the Family Trust.

The Survivor's Trust consists of the assets that the surviving spouse contributed to the trust before the deceased spouse's death. This subtrust is completely amendable and revocable by the surviving spouse. The Family Trust, on the other hand, is funded with the assets of the deceased spouse. This trust IS NOT revocable by the surviving spouse, although the surviving spouse can still benefit from the assets held in the Family Trust. When the surviving spouse dies, however, they are not allowed to distribute the Family Trust assets to anyone other than the deceased spouse's family line. This protects the deceased spouse's children and grandchildren from being "written out of the trust."

When both of you die, there are three primary ways in which the ultimate beneficiaries (your respective kids and grandkids) receive their share of the trust assets (both from the Survivor's Trust and the Family Trust):

  1. Outright Distributions: If the beneficiary is over a certain age or is not receiving means-tested government benefits (like SSI or Medicaid), then the successor trustee will distribute the beneficiary's share of the trust assets outright to the beneficiary with no strings attached.
  2. Subtrusts: If the beneficiary is of an age specified by you in the Standard Plan Questionnaire (you can pick between the ages of 21 and 40), the beneficiary's share is held in a "Subtrust" created after your death. Prior to the beneficiary turning that age, they receive distributions for the education, health, support, and maintenance. Once they turn the age you choose, they receive a lump-sum distribution from the trust.
  3. Supplemental Needs Trust: If a beneficiary is receiving means-tested government benefits like SSI or Medicaid, the beneficiary's share is distributed into a supplemental needs trust. This is so that the beneficiary does not lose their important government benefits. There are strict distribution requirements and limitations contained within the provisions of the supplemental needs trust.

The remaining provisions of the trust relate to trustee powers, the process for appointment, replacement, or removal of successor trustees, and whether or not the trustee is entitled to compensation (by default, the trustee is entitled to "reasonable compensation"). The trust document also outlines procedures for trust ownership of retirement plans and prevents beneficiaries from contesting the terms of the trust so that your wishes are locked in stone.

Create a Blended Family Trust

If you are interested in having a Blended Family Trust, you should seriously consider GoGo Estate's Complex Plan. If, however, you do not have a blended family, you should consider a Standard Plan instead.

Hey! Have any questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is GoGo Estate a law firm?

No! GoGo Estate does not provide legal services. However, we do provide our customers with self-help estate planning forms drafted by licensed estate planning attorneys.

Why should I use GoGo Estate over an attorney?

The average estate plan costs between $2,000 and $3,000 nationally! This is way too much money, especially since many attorneys "plug-and-play" your information into pre-drafted forms or estate planning software. And while seeking the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney, GoGo Estate gives you access to detailed attorney-drafted forms so you can save up to 70% on your estate plan!

How is GoGo Estate different from other online platforms?

In this everchanging world, we know you have a lot of online estate planning options to choose from. What makes GoGo Estate different is the detailed nature of our plans. We can confidently say that GoGo Estate has the most comprehensive estate planning forms on the internet. Plus, they are all drafted by licensed estate planning attorneys to give you peace of mind.

Can I really plan my estate on my own?

Absolutely! GoGo Estate has countless state-specific resources so that you can know the ins-and-outs of estate planning without having to pay an attorney.  Even better, our estate planning forms are drafted in detail by licensed estate planning attorneys, meaning you can receive the same quality forms you would expect from an attorney at up to 70% the cost!

Will GoGo Estate send me my documents?

Yes! No matter which plan you choose, GoGo Estate will send you printed versions of all of your documents. We ship all of your completed documents to you on the next business day. Of course, if you're in a crunch, you can print them out and have them signed yourself.

How do I go about signing my documents?

Unfortunately, most states do not allow for estate planning documents to be signed electronically. That means that you will have to sign them in front of a notary and (depending) at least two witnesses. Luckily, GoGo Estate provides detailed signing instructions in the first few pages of each document you purchase. While we hope to implement electronic signing in the future (depending on the state), at this time we do not help our customers sign their estate planning documents.

What is "Attorney Support?"

GoGo Estate's Standard and Blended Family Plans each come with built-in Attorney Support. With Attorney Support, you can have a free 30-minute phone or video call with a licensed attorney in your state so they can answer any questions or concerns that you might have.