If you are familiar with the TV series “Modern Family,” you know that the show’s unique blend of family comedy is based on recognizing that non-traditional families are an instrumental part of American society and are a growing segment of families that should be versed in estate planning.
Like any family, non-traditional families should pass on family legacies and avoid undue taxes and legal complications that can cause turmoil within a family. As such, this post focuses on three helpful estate planning recommendations.
Prepare a Last Will and Testament – Indeed, having a will is obvious, but you would be surprised with how many people do not have one, and do not understand why they need one. A will acts as an instruction sheet to ensure assets are passed as intended. Without a will, state intestacy laws will control, and assets may be passed to an unintended person.
Create a Health Care Proxy and/or Living Will - Much like a last will and testament, a living will sets forth a person’s wishes regarding care and life-sustaining actions. It also designates a person who can make important medical care decisions in the event other family members or legally recognized people are not available.
Establish a Durable Power of Attorney – Even if a person does not pass away, important financial decisions must be made. A power of attorney allows someone to designate an agent to handle a person’s financial affairs if they become incapacitated.
For questions about how these documents work, an experienced estate planning attorney can help.