Modern Family, ABC’s popular TV show, makes us laugh as they show us the interactions between nontraditional families. The show does well to make us laugh as well as she some light on the evolution of families in the U.S. We see second marriages, same-sex couples, and adopted children. With the evolution of family must also come the evolution of estate planning.
Here are a few tips for families looking to take on this new way estate planning:
Tips for Blended Families:
– Decide who is going to be included in the plan – new spouse, your kids, kids from the previous marriage, etc.
– Consult family members who are part of the plan in advance so that they are clear about the fairness of the estate plan and to avoid biases from taking place.
Tips for Women in Divorce:
– Realize your worth. Most women aren’t in charge of bringing in the money for their household and feel that because of this, they aren’t entitle to as much of the assets. Not true.
– Be involved in your finances. Don’t leave your financial planning solely to your partner. In the case of a divorce, you’ll be left in quite a financial bind.
– Take advantage of deductions and trusts. Not all states recognize same sex-marriages, but because of the IRS ruling, all states must recognize them for tax purposes and each same-sex couple must file federally as if they are married. This makes way for these types of couples to avoid estate tax by taking advantage of martial deductions as well. Same-sex couples also qualify for a martial-deduction trust (QTIP).
See Robert Milburn, Estate Planning for Modern Families, October 14, 2013.