Explore the brave new world of estate planning.

  • Planning for same-sex couples and strategies for “non-traditional” and blended families.
  • Understanding inheritance rights and posthumous birth laws.
  • Considering a loved one with special needs.

Comprehensive estate planning allows individuals and couples to maximize control over where their assets will go upon their death— while minimizing taxes so they can leave as much as possible to each other, their loved ones, and charitable causes.  While this sounds simple enough, most laws regarding how estates are handled are designed with a traditional nuclear family in mind—a husband and wife and their biological children. Although the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of a family, “a group of two persons or more (one of whom is the householder) residing together and related by birth, marriage, or adoption,” has not changed, its definition of married-couple families now includes same-sex married couples.

The Census Bureau also recently revised its relationship categories. Historically, only two classifications were included as relationship categories: Spouse (husband/wife) and Unmarried Partner. The revised categories clearly reflect the changing definition of today’s modern family: Opposite-sex Spouse (husband/wife), Opposite-sex Unmarried Partner, Same-sex Spouse (husband/wife), and Same-sex Unmarried Partner.

As families evolve and divorce and remarriage remain common-and rapid advances in reproductive technology continue-how can today’s modern families plan for their futures?

Please see important disclosures at the end of the article.

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