Making The Complex

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Considering nontraditional families while estate planning

Creating the best possible estate plan requires a careful attention to detail, especially when one is part of a nontraditional family. Whether remarried into a blended family or cohabitating with a long-term partner, it is important to get the details right to avoid accidentally leaving anyone out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when estate planning for a nontraditional family.

In Louisiana, nontraditional families often include loved ones who are not necessarily related by blood or the law, but who are deeply loved and cared for anyway. One might not even see any difference between biological children and grandchildren or stepchildren and grandchildren. Legally, however, there is often a clear difference. Stipulating in one’s will that certain assets should be split among children might ensure that biological children receive an inheritance, but not stepchildren.

The solution is to be very clear and precise when stating who is family. This may even require restatements of current estate planning documents so that they can be reworked to include the correct beneficiaries. Trying to plan for what might feel like two competing interests — such as caring for a second husband as well as adult children — can also be a challenge that requires unique solutions. Trusts are often useful for people in these situations.

Modern families in Louisiana might look a little different than in the past, but their needs are often still very much the same. After all, wanting to provide for family after one’s death has not really changed. Estate planning law can be complicated though, so it may be wise to seek guidance from an attorney who is knowledgeable in this matter.


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