Estate Planning for Nontraditional Families

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1571790142166{background-color: #f6f8fb !important;}”][vc_column][vc_row_inner equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle”][vc_column_inner css=”.vc_custom_1568060185703{background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column_text]One of my highest passions as an attorney is working with nontraditional families. By nontraditional, I mean a family that is different from the “Ozzie Harriet” traditional family of one mother, one father, and two children. We see this in same-sex couples (with or without children), blended families, widowed adults, divorced adults, unmarried adults in a long-term relationship, people with a pet they love like a child, and so many other structures. It’s just important to us that we get a chance to help people protect the people, animals, and causes they support though the estate planning process.

Because Georgia’s estate laws were written with traditional families in mind, it is even more critical for nontraditional families to work with an estate planning firm that really understands the issues that need to be addressed.

I am going to run through a few of the issues that come up commonly and how we address them.
[/vc_column_text][insignia_section_heading title=”Children with Unmarried Parents:” subtitle=”” align=”text-left” heading_tag=”h2″ font_weight=”default” heading_color=”#003979″ subtitle_fs=”text-large” subtitle_font_weight=”font-weight-700″ subtitle_color=”#000000″ separator_color=”#003979″ css=”.vc_custom_1573743677671{margin-bottom: 35px !important;}”][vc_column_text]More American children are being raised by single parents, or other family members. Four out of ten children are born to couples not living together. Fewer than half of children are living in a “traditional” nuclear family with two married parents in their first marriage.

We need to work with our client design a plan to protect the children if one or both parents die while they are under the age of 18 (or otherwise dependent on their parents).

If there is only parent who has legal parentage of the child, we will work with the parent to make sure that if something happens to them, the appropriate person will raise their child.
[/vc_column_text][insignia_section_heading title=”Same-Sex Couples:” subtitle=”” align=”text-left” heading_tag=”h2″ font_weight=”default” heading_color=”#003979″ subtitle_fs=”text-large” subtitle_font_weight=”font-weight-700″ subtitle_color=”#000000″ separator_color=”#003979″ css=”.vc_custom_1573743725388{margin-bottom: 35px !important;}”][vc_column_text]In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities, is guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

According to a Treasury Department research paper published in August 2016, as of 2014 there were 183,280 same-sex marriages in America, roughly a third of 1 percent of all marriages. According to the Treasury Department data, 2,900 of these marriages were in Georgia.

While this is great news, it doesn’t completely address all the estate planning concerns same-sex couples have.

For example, as part of the estate planning process, we work to make sure that all children of the relationship, whether biological or adopted, have clear legal parentage. If they don’t, we’ll help make sure that children have legal relationships with both intended parents.[/vc_column_text][insignia_section_heading title=”Blended Families:” subtitle=”” align=”text-left” heading_tag=”h2″ font_weight=”default” heading_color=”#003979″ subtitle_fs=”text-large” subtitle_font_weight=”font-weight-700″ subtitle_color=”#000000″ separator_color=”#003979″ css=”.vc_custom_1573743775825{margin-bottom: 35px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Few family setups create more probates disputes than when a parent gets remarried. The probate courts are filled with cases of stepparents and stepchildren fighting over the estate of their loved one.

These disputes are most frustrating because they could have all been prevented with good estate planning and open conversations.
[/vc_column_text][insignia_section_heading title=”Pets:” subtitle=”” align=”text-left” heading_tag=”h2″ font_weight=”default” heading_color=”#003979″ subtitle_fs=”text-large” subtitle_font_weight=”font-weight-700″ subtitle_color=”#000000″ separator_color=”#003979″ css=”.vc_custom_1573743824824{margin-bottom: 35px !important;}”][vc_column_text]We love pets and want to make sure they are protected. For many of our clients, taking care of a pet if something happens to them, is the highest priority. Few things are more heartbreaking than a pet having to be surrendered to a shelter because the right plans weren’t put into place.

We’ll work with our clients to make sure their pets have a place to go, and funds the available for their care, should their owner die or become incapacitated.
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