In previous generations, the typical American family consisted of a married wife and husband living at home with their biological children. However, only about 35% of couples in Georgia and throughout the country today are what would fall under that category of a “traditional family.” Therefore, it will likely be necessary for most people to have estate plans that look different than the ones that their parents or grandparents put together.
For instance, those who have adopted a child or had a child out of wedlock could need to specifically include them in an estate plan. In recent decades, it has become more common for individuals to get married for a second or third time. If an individual has biological children from a first marriage, they may need to take action to ensure that the child obtains their inheritance.
It has also become increasingly common for couples to spend years or decades together without getting married. Unmarried couples could protect their interests by naming their partners as agents on a power of attorney form. An estate plan could also dictate how financial or other information is shared with family members. In some cases, it may be better to have private individual meetings with advisers as opposed to scheduling large family gatherings to discuss sensitive matters.
A trust is among the many estate planning tools that can help to protect assets or offer other benefits. Assets kept in an irrevocable trust might be shielded from creditors or from being split in a divorce. This is because they are generally held outside of the estate and under the control of a trustee. An attorney could help a client create a trust, review the terms of an existing trust or provide other forms of estate planning assistance.