On May 2, 2018, partner Kathy Rosenthal spoke on a panel joined by colleagues, Julia Peloso-Barnes, a financial planner at Morgan Stanley, and Doug Ruttenberg, a CPA with PKF O’Connor Davies. The program, sponsored by the Westchester Estate Planning Council, focused on estate planning issues critical to planning for Non-Traditional Families.
As we know, family units do not always consist of one mom, one dad and 2.2 children. We spoke about planning for…
- a single person
- a single person with a minor child
- a same-gender couple
- a couple married for the second time with children from their respective first marriages
- issues around an adult disabled family member.
Every family has unique planning needs. Each of the adults need his or her own Will, health care proxy, living will and power of attorney. Some people also need trusts (for asset protection for themselves or their beneficiaries or for estate tax planning or to avoid probate). Some need pre or post-nuptual agreements or partnership agreements.
Non-traditional families, especially those bound by choice, not by marriage or blood, also need these documents, but planning for a non-traditional family is essential because the family’s interests and needs can be more “outside the box” and the family members are not protected by state laws and more traditional planning options.
For the legal and financial professional, planning starts with asking the right questions and listening more intently to the answers so the professionals can educate each client about his or her options and then work with the client to implement the plan.