Each family is unique and can have a special set of needs that another household may not have. In today’s society there are families with children, some without, some that have blood related children and some that have adopted children. In addition, there are many blended families, same sex couples and couples on their second marriage. With all of these differences, here are some special considerations that may be applicable to your family.
If you have minor children, it will be necessary to consider a couple different issues. The first issue is who will take your children in the event that you pass away prior to them becoming adults? This is a difficult question to answer and discussions should take place with your significant other — and those individuals who you are considering to take your children — to make sure everyone is aware of the needs and responsibilities of this matter. Additionally, the parties should consider how the assets will be handled for the minor children in the event of your death. Do you want to have a trust to protect their assets until they are at the age of majority (18 years old in Florida)? Or do you want them to wait until an older age to get the funds? Who do you want to manage the monies for your children until they become adults? Meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney will allow you to ask questions and gather information about what is best for your needs.
The United States has finally granted same sex couples the opportunity to marry and be treated as spouses, which affords them the same rights for health insurance, tax benefits and probate laws. However, this issue continues to be something addressed by the government, and creating estate planning in writing protects the couple to insure that the assets go to the person they intend to get the assets.
Many couples may be in a second marriage due to divorce or death of a first spouse, which can lead to another set of factors to consider in estate planning. Additionally, many times the second marriage involves children who are not the children of both parties together. Many times the individuals in the marriage came to the marriage with significant assets, or one party may have many more assets than the other. Additionally, there may be issues with discord among the children and the new spouse, or concerns about which children should get which assets. There are estate planning vehicles that can assist in making sure the specific wishes of the parties are met.
In some circumstances there may be special needs to consider for a family member or members. Do you have a child who is on disability which could be forfeited if they receive a large sum of money? Do you have a child who is in a tumultuous relationship and you have concerns about their significant other getting any of the assets in a divorce situation? Do you have a child who has creditor issues, or who you believe will not make wise choices if left a substantial amount of money? These are just some of the issues that may be present when considering how to set up your assets at your death.
In each of these situations, Jennifer L. Hamey, PA can help. We use our years of experience to advise you on how to best carry out your wishes and take care of those you love.