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Estate planning for the not-so-traditional family

The definition and understanding of the word “family” has undeniably changed in recent years. What was once considered a traditional family of a married mom and dad and their children living in a single home now makes up less than 20% of households. With this complex evolution comes increasing challenges in estate planning. Those in nontraditional Texas families who are ready to build or revisit their estate plans may have many unique considerations.

Probate laws often automatically transfer assets to the spouse of the deceased. However, when one woman remarried and continued to live in the same house she once shared with her ex-husband, she did not want the house to pass to her second husband and then to his children. Instead, she created a trust that would allow her husband to continue living in the home, which would then pass to her children after his death.

Individualized plans are important

Online templates and even some estate planning laws may not respect the new models of family life. For example, in one family, grandparents greatly loved their daughter’s stepson, but because the child was not related by blood or adoption, the grandparents had to make special provisions for him to receive an inheritance from their estate. If they had not done so, the law would not have included the child as a legal heir.

Even in so-called traditional families, there may be unique factors that generic estate planning tools will not address. Those in Texas can deal with those matters with the help of an estate planning professional. Additionally, it is wise for them to revisit and review their plans whenever life brings more changes to their families.