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Estate planning with nontraditional families

Creating an estate plan might seem straightforward enough, but there can be complicating factors. For example, estate planning for a nontraditional family often requires extra care and attention to ensure that nothing is left out. There are many different types of nontraditional families in Georgia, some of which include:

  • Blended families
  • Cohabitating couples
  • Grandparents raising their grandchildren
  • Adult children caring for aging parents

A good place to start is to clearly determine one’s goals and priorities. Estate planning can be surprisingly flexible, and it can be used to protect a partner or spouse, provide inheritances to children or even care for pets. While everyone’s goal will be unique to their own situations, many people share a common estate planning priority — family.

When creating an estate plan for a nontraditional family, it is important to clearly define who is family. This might seem like an unnecessary step, especially for parents who view their stepchildren as their very own. However, failing to specifically name a stepchild when stating that certain assets should be divided among children can mean that he or she gets left out altogether.

There is no one right way to be a family, and as such there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to estate planning. It is up to each person to create an estate plan that mirrors not only his or her wishes, but also his or her unique family situation. This can be an overwhelming task to take on by one’s self, so it may be wise to speak with an experienced attorney who is familiar with these types of challenges.

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