Estate planning in years past was pretty simple because family structures were simple. However, today’s families have many different forms and types.
According to Kiplinger, a traditional family is one where you and your partner marry, stay in the marriage and have children together. You do not have other partners or children outside of the marriage. A non-traditional family is anything that does not follow the traditional path.
One situation that can complicate estate planning is when you have two families. For example, you have a former spouse with whom you had children, and you now have a new spouse with whom you have children. If you were to die without an estate plan, the state would award everything to your current spouse who would then have complete control. This would likely leave the children you have from your first marriage with nothing.
In your estate plan, it is important to consider both families and make sure that you provide for them both. This may involve leaving assets to your former spouse to hold for your children if they are minors. You may also need to set up special trusts to ensure all your children get access to your assets after your death.
Children not with parents
Another common situation is where grandparents raise grandchildren. If you are in this situation, then the chances are good that you would want to leave assets to your grandchildren. You may wish to bypass the parent of those children completely. You will need to have something specific in your estate plan to ensure this happens and to prevent your child from contesting your will.