It seems that a lot of estate planning articles or strategies are focused on traditional family situations, such as a husband and wife, creating an estate plan to take care of the surviving spouse and children. However, in the modern age, there are many non-traditional families, that require special planning and expertise to carry out your wishes.
This is a quick overview of some unique situations that you may face in your own family planning for the future:
Gifts to Grandchildren without Living Parents – If you have grandchildren who have lost both of their parents, there are some specific rules for including them in your estate plan. If they are minors, they will likely need a legal guardian appointed by the court to manage any inherited assets.
Unmarried Partners with No Children – It is common for some couples or domestic partners in California not to marry, and in many cases not have children together. Although there are no natural heirs, an estate plan is still necessary to ensure that you can direct where your assets go when you die. You can make gifts to your partner, relatives or friends with a will or trust, giving you the choice of distribution and avoiding intestate laws that might not take care of your partner.
Gifts to Children during a Second Marriage – There are complex laws dealing with stepchildren and divorce, so it is essential to have an estate plan that takes care of children from a previous marriage, as well as new children and stepchildren. Without proper planning, current laws may give unfair distribution to family members.
Family Businesses with Relatives as Owners or Employees – There are many families that have businesses where the spouses, children or other relatives may be employees or part-owners. This situation requires astute financial, legal and estate planning to arrive at a succession plan when the primary owners or founder dies.
If any of these situations apply to you, then the advice and services of an estate planning attorney can give you the solutions and planning strategies that you need. Don’t put off making an estate plan if you have relatives or partners that you want to care for in the future. Please call attorney Andrea Shoup at 951-445-4114 to discuss your needs.