New families can come about because of marriage, the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, or many other ways. No matter how your new family forms, taking the time to address a variety of estate planning issues can be one of the most important decisions you make. Every new family has estate planning concerns that need to be addressed by a comprehensive estate plan. If you have a new family and have yet to begin addressing these issues, we’re going to take a little time to look at what you need to think about.
New Families and Emergencies
Perhaps one of the most important issues that estate plans address is the question of what happens to you or new families in case someone becomes incapacitated. What would happen if, for example, your new spouse is involved in a car accident and loses the ability to communicate? Would you know what he or she would want you to do? Do you know what kinds of medical choices your spouse would want you to make, or even if you would have the ability to make them? What about managing your spouse’s property? Do you know what he or she owns, how to access it, and how to manage it?
A good incapacity plan is an essential element of every estate plan. Whether you are planning on making decisions on behalf of the spouse, making plans in case both you and your spouse are incapacitated and your child needs a guardian, or anything else, an incapacity plan will make sure that your choices are protected.
Your Family and Inheritance
Even though it’s not a question that is exactly pleasant to think about, you also need to think about what will happen to your property should you die. Who will inherit your possessions? Will they go to your spouse, your children, your stepchildren, or other family members? Are there any restrictions on the types of inheritance choices you can make?
An inheritance plan will address each of these questions. Beyond addressing them, it will also allow you to make inheritance choices of your own and make sure that they are enforceable if and when the time comes.
Your Family and Your Wishes
Beyond the practical concerns of making plans for future death or incapacitation, there are also the very real concerns of preventing destructive conflicts from arising in new families. Your family wants the best for you, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they want the same things as other family members. Making your wishes known can ensure that your family members don’t disagree between themselves when making decisions on your behalf for deciding what you would have wanted.