Making decisions about end-of-life care seldom is easy. When you complete your
end-of-life plans, you will also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wishes will be carried
out in the future. Additionally, you have not burdened your family with making these emotionally difficult
choices without your guidance.
Estate planning for a second marriage is different from planning for a first marriage in
that asset distributions need to be balanced between your new spouse and your existing children. In a first
marriage, it usually makes sense to delay the children's inheritance until both spouses have passed. It may
not make sense in a second marriage.
Children with Special Needs
A lack of planning can cause beneficiaries who receive needs-based benefits to lose those
benefits at the death of their parents. A properly drafted special needs plan can help ensure that your
loved one will be well cared for both now and in the future, while also retaining their eligibility for
Beneficiaries on Disability
No matter what type of disability benefits your loved one may be receiving, you always
need a plan developed to meet your family's specific needs. Without a plan, you could inadvertently
disqualify your family member from receiving the support that they deserve and depend upon.
State intestacy laws consider unmarried couples to be legal strangers without inheritance
rights. As a result, for unmarried couple it's important that they develop their own estate plan to override
the traditional defaults which only define spouses, and not partners, as heirs.
Estate planning is especially critical for unmarried LGBTQ couples. If you are not
married to your partner, the laws of intestacy consider you to be legal strangers without any rights to
inherit property from each other. Additionally, who you consider your child may not meet your state's
default legal definition.
Estate Planning without Family
Choosing agents to carry out your plans for critical life events can feel daunting for
most, but it can feel impossible for those of us who do not have close friends or family members we can rely
upon to take on these responsibilities for us. Options, however, exist.
Estate Planning for Singles
If you are unmarried, creating an estate plan that is customized for your specific
situation can help protect you and your loved ones. The default laws of intestacy are based on traditional
ideas of family and favor marriages over relationships. The default surrogate decision makers and
beneficiaries created by those laws may not reflect your preferences.
Estate Planning and Divorce
Estate planning is a process which needs to be revisited after every major life event,
including divorce. Many people overestimate the impact of a divorce decree on their estate plan. After a
divorce, your entire estate plan, legal documents, financial accounts and digital assets, all need to be
updated to reflect your change in status.