Updated: Mar 29
Thankfully, in the last few decades, society has become a much more tolerant place for unconventional family arrangements. As more and more people begin to live in a way that suits them best, non-traditional family planning is rising.
If your family is one of the many non-traditional family arrangements in the USA, it’s essential to start thinking about estate planning. Doing this as soon as possible protects your family and your assets, no matter what the future has in store.
In this blog, we’ll take a deeper dive into non-traditional family planning and share some tips to make the process as seamless as possible.
Estate Planning for Non-Traditional Families
Before we begin, let’s take a look at some key statistics:
80% of households have a non-traditional family structure in the USA.
Gay and lesbian households increased from 540,000 to 980,000 post-legalization.
Multigenerational households have increased from 7 to 26%, witnessing a staggering 271% increase over a decade.
While many partners find informal custodial arrangements and other systems work well for them, thousands face issues when problems arise. One of the critical challenges to overcome is the distribution of assets after death, made simple with the right plan in place.
As per U.S. Census Bureau, same-sex households have increased by 80%. Since most mainstream advice is given with traditional families in mind, there’s undoubtedly some confusion for unconventional arrangements. For example, grandparents raising their grandchildren frequently worry about their heirs or properties.
The law isn’t designed for a non-traditional set-up, meaning:
There is no specific estate plan for all non-traditional families to abide by.
Some laws may not support the same federal estate or tax benefits.
In many cases, it can be difficult for partners or single parents to protect their rights as a family.
There is no definitive answer to challenges with asset distribution or custody arrangements.
Non-traditional families may not enjoy tax reductions like traditional families, so transferring property to an unmarried partner could be more expensive. The same can apply to estate benefits or gifts.
3 Estate Planning Tips for Non-Traditional Families
Now we’ve addressed the challenges that non-traditional families face, let’s look at some key tips for beginning your estate planning journey.
1. Create Your Goals First
The most important thing to remember when estate planning is to establish your goals immediately before putting any policies, structures, or arrangements in place. These goals will decide the future of your family members, so it’s essential to consider the best way to distribute properties and assets among them.
For example, if you’re raising your partner’s children, do you want them to get your assets in the case of your death? These may seem like difficult conversations to have, but dealing with them now instead of further down the line is crucial.
2. Sign Up For a Prenuptial Agreement
If you and your partner can’t quite agree on the same plan, a prenuptial agreement is a great solution. These contracts help secure the interests of both parties, especially beneficial if a second marriage takes place with children from a previous partnership.
As part of the prenup, you can plan the distribution of assets according to your interests, and balancing everyone’s needs will be much easier.
3. Provide the Appropriate Rights to Your Partner
If you and your partner are unmarried, it’s important to put the rights in place that the law doesn’t provide them with. This means that if something happens to you, your properties or assets will be passed to the right people, even if they’re non-traditional family members.
Be cautious, though – it’s unwise to hand over too many rights to your partner. For blended families, one partner may have a poor relationship with step-children and make too many changes in the event of a death.
Keep plans clear, concise, and simplistic!
So, that’s everything you need to know about the rise in non-traditional family planning. Consulting a professional is a critical step in creating a plan that works for your specific family needs, so make sure you take the time to find the right advice and guidance.
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