Today’s families are not the “traditional” families like we have had in the past. Only about 35% of American families are comprised of a traditional heterosexual married couple with children. Adult households today are comprised of:
- Blended families
- Divorced families
- Cohabiting couples
- Same sex couples
- Intentionally single parents
- Single persons
- Polyamory relationships
- Families with non-marital children
All of these categories are growing and changing. This change in the make-up of today’s families creates additional need and urgency to have an updated estate plan and will. Don’t assume that just because you are cohabitating as a family unit that current laws and definitions are sufficient to cover everyone you want treated as a beneficiary.
So, what should you be thinking about?
- Blended families. Over 50% of families are now comprised of adults who are remarried or re-coupled. Are your stepchildren covered sufficiently in your new family plan? Do you want them to be treated equally in your plan as your biological children? If they are not, have you thought of the emotional and financial consequences that can cause in the future?
- Unmarried partners. Some laws might not cover your partner should you not have your wishes clearly documented. Imagine your sibling having rights to your estate instead of your partner for the last 10 years because you did not express your wishes in a legal format.
- Divorced families. Are you concerned that your ex-spouse will be able to adequately take care of your children should you pass? Have you set up your estate plan to efficiently protect your assets from your ex yet still provide for your children and their futures?
There are many additional scenarios to think about when creating your will and estate plan. The lawyers at Painter & Associates have extensive experience helping non-traditional families in creating the best estate plans that work for them.