Mina N. Sirkin is a Certified Specialist Attorney in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. Ms. Sirkin is a frequent speaker and a legal expert regarding major court cases for the media. For consultation appointments, or for speaking availability, pleae contact Karen Reyes at
Trust and estate Protection of Second Wives against Children of the First Marriage is one of the most common themes in trust and estate litigation in Los Angeles, as well as in estate planning. Our trust attorneys are frequently asked to assess what assets would go to the second (or third) wife, and what assets will be distributed to the children of prior marriages.
Control v. Distribution:
In some cases, the disputes revolve around who has control. In other cases, trust disputes focus on who will be in control of the distribution, and when the distribution will happen. When a spouse becomes incapacitated, the focus is initially on control, but it soon changes to distribution. Control of assets either under a power of attorney, or in a conservatorship can ultimately determine who gets the assets.
Clarity regarding Timing and Manner of Trust Distributions:
When preparing an estate plan for couples with prior marriages, one of the main questions is when will the distribution to the children from the first marriage occur. Safeguards can be placed to protect the second wife, as well as the children to insure that the distribution plan cannot be thwarted by anyone. At times, we use professional fiduciaries to manage the distribution to avoid conflicts between the second wife, and the children.
What if your spouse tried to name someone else as a beneficiary of a community property life insurance or annuity?
If your spouse has named someone else as a beneficiary of a life insurance, annuity or an IRA, without your written consent, you may set aside your 1/2 right in that asset and reverse the beneficiary designation as to one half. Call us to discuss how we can help you.