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Representing Spouses in Blended or Stepfamilies: Planning and Ethical Landmines

May 10 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm EDT

Jonathan G. Blattmachr JD, L. Paul Hood Jr. and Martin M. Shenkman Esq.
Blended Families

Webinar Description

Estate planning for clients who have blended or stepfamilies often presents significant and perplexing challenges for estate planners in the substantive planning. As if that was not difficult enough, estate planners may also encounter important ethical issues. 

This webinar will discuss the often-counterintuitive ethical traps and landmines that estate planners face when working with blended or stepfamily clients.

  • What is a blended family?
  • What common arrangements do blended families take?
  • How can practitioners work effectively with blended family couples?
  • Should it be joint or separate representation?
  • What might you include in your retainer agreement or a side agreement about representation?
  • What are the signposts of the need for separate representation?
  • What are indications that you may need to look for to protect the clients and yourself?
  • Since the seeds of a future malpractice claim are sown during the initial client meeting what precautions might practitioners take?
  • Who should you meet with at the beginning of the engagement?
  • How do you properly prepare for the initial meeting?
  • Are your questionnaires and other forms updated to reflect blended family data?
  • How to engage and move forward?
  • Conflicts of interest can be nettlesome. 
    • What are sources of common conflicts of interest?
    • Is it advisable to obtain waivers of conflicts of interest?
    • What is the distinction between consentable and non-consentable conflicts?

Specific practical estate planning situations that can present ethical challenges, including marriage contracts, joint tenancy, gift-splitting, powers of attorney, SLATs, gift tax returns, etc. And more!

Join us on May 10th, at 4pm ET.


Continuing Education Credits

InterActive Legal is not an approved Continuing Education (CE) Sponsor. However, several states and regulatory agencies for a variety of professionals that participate on our teleconferences may still receive continuing education credit for their participation. If a participant wishes to receive CE credit for their participation in these teleconferences, they must apply to receive credit on their own and through their individual states and regulatory authorities. It is the responsibility of the participant to file for CE credit and is not guaranteed by the webinar sponsors.


Webinar Sponsors


Mr. Blattmachr is a Principal in ILS Management, LLC and a retired member of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York, NY and of the Alaska, California and New York Bars. He is recognized as one of the most creative trusts and estates lawyers in the country and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America. He has written and lectured extensively on estate and trust taxation and charitable giving.

A native of Louisiana (and a double LSU Tiger), after obtaining his law degrees in 1986 and 1988, Paul settled down to practice tax and estate planning law in the New Orleans area until he entered the nonprofit world in 2012.  Paul has spent over 30 years specializing in taxes and estate planning. He has taught at the University of New Orleans, Northeastern University, The University of Toledo College of Law and Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law.  He finds great joy in teaching others its importance and the impact they are able to make. At Thompson & Associates, Paul is able to combine his technical background and love for the details most cringe to think about and marry it with his teaching heart to guide individuals and families through a thoughtful process in ensuring their values are evident in their estate plan.  The proud father of two Eagle Scouts and LSU Tigers, Paul has authored or co-authored eight books and over 500 professional articles on estate, charitable and tax planning and business valuation. Paul now calls Sylvania, Ohio home.

Martin M. Shenkman is an attorney in private practice in Fort Lee, NJ, and New York City.  His practice concentrates on estate and tax planning, planning for closely held business, and estate administration.  Mr. Shenkman is an author of over 40 books and more than 800 articles.  He is an editorial board member of Trusts & Estates Magazine and the Matrimonial Strategist, and an advisor for InterActive Legal.  He is the recipient of many awards including being a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Accredited Estate Planners (Distinguished) award from the National Association of Estate Planning Counsels.  Mr. Shenkman was named Financial Planning Magazine 2012 Pro-Bono Financial Planner of the Year for his efforts on behalf of those living with chronic illness and disability.  Investment Adviser Magazine featured him on the cover of its April 2013 issue naming as the lead of their “all-star lineup of tax experts.”

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