Families are Evolving. Is Your Estate Plan?

Have you noticed that families are changing in this day and age? Traditional families are evolving and include more extended family and relatives. This newsletter talks about the changes of “traditional families” in our society and how they affect your estate plan. If you are interested in talking to an attorney, please give our office a call.

The laws relating to how estates are handled are designed with a very traditional nuclear family in mind – a husband, wife and biological children. That is not the traditional family anymore. Fewer than half of all U.S. households meet this traditional definition. That trend is likely to continue now that same sex marriage has been legalized nationwide. Also, divorce and remarriage remain very common. It is no longer about just the traditional versus non-traditional families.

A particularly serious issue to consider is the rapid advances in reproductive technology. How should children conceived with stored genetic material after the death of one or both genetic parents be treated in regards to inheritance?

This brings into question new legal territory: posthumous birth laws.   It is a complicated topic, but if you and your spouse have genetic material stored it is an issue that should be addressed in your estate plan.

Another change estate attorneys are noticing is the increase in consideration for pets. Hornstein Law offices’ offers Pet Trusts for this reason. Many families’ own pets that will out-live their owners, birds, horses and turtles are among a few.   A family that owns a stable with several horses should plan for their future as part of their estate plan. Will the stable be left to an adult child? Will money from the estate plan be dedicated to the maintenance of the stable? More commonly, for seniors there is the possibility that their dogs or cats will survive them. Who will care for Rover and Fluff? These questions need to be addressed.

Another issue is the growing number of pet owners who want to be buried with their pets.   Two states have begun permitting this practice, and while other states do not address this issue, that may change in the future.

Staying ahead of these changes is more important than ever. With such rapid changes occurring, planning solutions must keep up. Have you evaluated your estate plan to make sure it has evolved to meet your changing needs? Contact Hornstein Law Offices to talk to an attorney about your estate plan today, at 818.887.9401.