One of the best examples of poor estate planning comes from the beloved folktale of Cinderella. As you may recall, Cinderella’s mother passed away when she was young and Cinderella was raised by her father and awful new stepmother. Tragedy strikes when her father dies, leaving everything to be inherited by the wicked stepmother, who spoils herself and her own daughters with her newly inherited riches. Poor Cinderella is left scrubbing floors and doing laundry, wishing her father had included her in his estate plan.
The whole story of Cinderella would never have been told if her father or mother had prepared a trust.
If Cinderella had her own protected inheritance to draw upon, she could have hired help, gotten an education, and not dress in rags.
Instead she was doomed to a life of chores, waiting for a prince to rescue her. Had her mother thought to set up an A/B trust structure before she died, then someone other than the wicked stepmother would have been in charge of Cinderella’s finances until she came of age. If Cinderella’s father had set up a trust, then he could have left plenty for the stepmother AND Cinderella to be comfortable (with someone else in control of his daughter’s share). He also could have designated a better guardian for his cherished daughter. Since neither parent set up a trust, we know how the story goes.
The moral to the story applies to every blended family today: have a trust to protect your children AND your new spouses.
Blended families are families that have children from prior relationships. That’s never easy even while everyone is still alive. It becomes the Cinderella or Cinderfella problem after one of the parents die or becomes incapacitated.
I’m certain that the Prince’s father (the King) had a trust to secure his son’s inheritance. In those days, only the wealthy could afford to have trusts. So, I don’t blame Cinderella’s parents for failing plan for well-being in the absence of their presence. Unfortunately the days of Princes and Fairy Godmothers are becoming more rare, but affordable, do-it-yourself, online estate planning is now available! Middle income families now have access and support to be able to create their own trusts. Don’t let your family become the next Cinderella story – create your estate plan today!
Creating a trust and related documents does take work when you do it yourself online, but we estimate it will only take an average person 2 hours per week for 3 to 4 weeks, not a lifetime of slave labor like Cinderella faced. Think of how much money and work you will save those you love when they avoid the court process called probate.