Estate Planning: Times Are Changing!

We no longer live in an “Ozzie and Harriet” world.  Today, many households are occupied by opposite sex couples who don’t marry, same sex couples, long-term cohabitants, and divorced individuals who have children from a first marriage and won’t remarry.

 These arrangements pose a variety of challenges and obstacles that traditional couples don’t face.  Here are a few for your consideration:

  •  No marital deduction,
  • No intestate succession,
  • No right to make to make health care decisions,
  • No right to serve as guardian or conservator,
  • No hospital visitation rights,
  • No Gift splitting,
  • No Social Security survivorship benefits,
  • Different rules for qualified retirement plans and IRAs,
  • No child custody rights,
  • No right to dispose of remains,
  • No right to make funeral arrangements, and
  • No automatic transfer of lease agreement in deceased partner’s name.

 Most of these issues can be addressed in some fashion…with the help of careful planning. 

 The good news is that Greater Madison has a large number of estate planning attorneys with experience in planning for non-traditional relationships.

 As Alan Lakein once wrote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”


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