You are correct, this will cost the kids in the long run, but that makes no matter to my ex.
The two signatures is really more of an issue on the account and the management of it. The amount that each child shall be entitled to on an annual (in college) basis has already been pegged to a certain state university's tuition. So the issue of who goes where is not an issue, they go to Harvard or the local community college they get up to the same amount each year (ie they get as much of it as is needed up to a certain ceiling, each year).
As for the two signature's being an issue, you are absolutely correct in that nothing can be done without the other's approval - which is what she wants. At least it was a step back from her initially wanting unilateral approval and it being ALL my money.(This from a woman who never had one iota of interest in the family finances).
Also there are no "payments" except the initial one - think large 5 figures. I will set up my own 529's to make sure my girls have money to go to college, but in this instance it is a one time (big) lump sum.
As for a neutral owner, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. The other point is that I have been forced to put in a large amount of money (upfront) into this in the name of my kids education (which I am all for). My problem was that I was forced to put in a LARGE sum up front, rather than over time. So, my request was that I get back any money that is not used for their college.
I am hesitant to set up UTMA's as, my rudimentary understanding is that this will hurt my girls when it comes to scholarship/grants/student aid. Also, I will have the same dual signature issues and I am not sure if there is anything left that I will be entitled to it.
Thanks for your input. I can not believe the level of thought members of this board have given my situation - it is greatly appreciated.