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Fill-in-the-blank documentation for estate planning follows a narrow idea of what makes up a family. Although online documents are a quick way to begin preparations for a basic estate plan, these forms do not necessarily cater to all types of families. Little consideration is given to what a diverse family could be, which can include: LGBTQ+ families, single parents, divorced parents, stepchildren, guardians of non-birth children, groups of close friends, and many other kinds.

Ensure your legacy is fully protected and inclusive of your wishes, Hughes Legacy Law PLLC is prepared to help. We have extensive experience with navigating traditional inheritance and guardianship laws and preparing documents that are more inclusive for all families. These documents are well-researched with current laws and statues to be more defensible, if challenged. We have found that to best help you and your family develop an estate plan that meets your specific needs and requirements, it is vital you partner with a knowledgeable attorney.

Who Can Make Medical Decisions?

Having to consider the idea of being in a poor medical state can bring you anxiety and feel uncomfortable to discuss. The sooner important decisions and roles are established, the less anxious our clients typically are. Planning for these scenarios ahead of time can be uncomfortable in the beginning, but if anything were to happen, it typically brings peace of mind because you have already faced it and you are prepared. Part of your estate plan will be dedicated to designating a family member or loved one to make medical decisions for you on the chance you are unable to do so. In case of incapacitation, the identified party is empowered to make your health care decisions for you.

If you do not have a living will at the time of incapacitation, the state will prioritize your legal family members, such as a spouse or biological child. If you are not married but have a long-time partner, (or you simply prefer that a person other than the folks the state believes should be your decision maker) the state can legally not recognize a person outside of the queue in the decision-making process. In addition, not having prepared for this can lead to delays in critical decisions being made and/or being made by a physician. It is common for physicians to focus on extending and saving life by any means necessary when deciding for their patients. Many of our clients tell us that what they would choose and what a physician may choose for their care in the event their opinions differ. A Hughes Legacy Law PLLC attorney will help you construct a personalized plan for your unique values and prevent your desires from being debated or dismissed.

Divide Your Assets Amongst Your Family

Without the assistance of an attorney to provide you with professionally documented and current paperwork, you run the risk of the mismanagement of your assets. Beneficiaries, in the simplest terms, are those who will receive your assets and property once you have passed away. Beneficiaries are not limited to people and can also include nonprofit organizations. Personalized estate planning also ensures beneficiaries are not limited to your surviving spouse and biological children and instead can include any number of people or types of relationships such as: close friends, former foster children, spouse’s children, nieces and/or nephews, and other relationships outside of your current legal spouse, parents, and/or children.

In the case you pass away without any official documentation or have died “intestate,” your family would enter a court-mandated probate period. Intestacy laws would take over, which will specifically influence the distribution of the decedent’s assets. Inheritance will be based on laws imposed during the mid-twentieth century, which will, unfortunately, not accommodate any wishes outside of legally-recognized families (spouse, children, and/or parents). To best navigate your estate and your family away from any pitfalls, it is best to speak with an estate attorney and begin preparations as soon as possible.

See How an Estate Planning Attorney Can ensure Inclusivity for Family Today

Hughes Legacy Law PLLC deeply understands the sensitivity and possible anxiety surrounding estate planning, especially when it comes to protecting the financial future of your non-traditional family. Our team has devoted their professional careers to providing inclusive, cost-effective, and personalized services.

To see how we can best help your family and safeguard your estate today, please call (703) 977-1139 or fill out a contact form.