Estate Planning for Non–traditional Relationships

Ensuring and protecting the rights of domestic partners

When one spouse in a marital relationship becomes critically ill or dies without a will or health care directive, the state assumes the other spouse can make decisions and inherit. When the partners are not married, they need careful, thoughtful estate planning to ensure the rights of each one.

Other non–traditional families also need to take actions to make their wishes and objectives clear. For example, grandparents raising grandchildren or parents with stepchildren or with children from other relationships need clearly defined estate planning documents.

  • Same-sex couples: Do you have a health care directive that designates your gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) partner as the person to make decisions for you if you cannot? Do you have a will or trusts that make your intentions clear?
  • Unmarried couple: The law does not assume that because you are living together that you have the rights of inheritance.
  • Stepchildren, children from another relationship: How do you want your assets to be distributed to your biological children and stepchildren? Does your estate plan take into consideration all elements of your combined family?
  • Grandparents: Wills and trusts can define who receives your assets. If you wish to skip a generation and leave your assets to grandchildren, you need documents that say that.

Discuss your non–traditional relationship estate plan with a lawyer.

There are many tools that can ensure your goals and objectives are known, respected and carried out under the law. Ask about domestic partner agreements and tenancy–in–common agreements. Make sure you protect yourself, your partner and your children and other heirs with an estate plan that works for you.

Call 612.255.6935 or send an email for an appointment to discuss an estate plan that fits your non–traditional relationship. We represent clients throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.