Move Over; Leave It to Beaver: Planning for Nontraditional Couples and Families

November 2003
Journal of Financial Planning;Nov2003, Vol. 16 Issue 11, p46
Academic Journal
The article focuses on financially planning for nontraditional couples and families. Planners begin by noting that planning for nontraditional couples must begin with the realization that heterosexual married couples are protected by more than one thousand rights that unmarried heterosexual, gay or lesbian couples are not. Unmarried heterosexual couples tend more to assume the traditional married model and lesbian couples come to the planning process with no assumptions. Conversations with non-married partners have to range from living arrangements to income tax issues to estate tax issues. With the use of time-saving financial planning software programs ruled out because they make assumptions that do not hold true for unmarried couples, job one for planners and most nontraditional clients is executing the appropriate legal documents. Without a will in place, state law determines the distribution of assets and that rarely benefits the surviving partner. Legal security also requires two additional legal documents, an advanced health care directives and durable powers of attorney. Banks and title companies often make faulty, potentially damaging assumptions about how property should be titled.


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