Will You Be Ready – BEYOND THE NUCLEAR FAMILY
One man, one woman, and 1.5 children. Does this describe your family unit? If not, you’re in good company, and this month we provide you with some of the most important Will-drafting considerations for family units of the 21st century.
The Common-Law Couple
Unmarried spouses take heed. Unlike married couples, common-law partners have no automatic right to inherit any portion of their deceased partner’s assets or property. In the absence of a Will, your common-law partner will not be provided for upon your death in the way you may have otherwise wished. Make sure to get proper advice on how to include your common-law spouse in your estate plan by speaking with an Estate lawyer.
The Blended Family
Second and subsequent marriages are on the rise, and your estate plan should fit the needs of your situation. Blended families often consist of children from prior marriages or relationships. This type of family unit brings with it some important questions about how you will transfer your wealth post-death. Should you and your partner create separate estate plans for your respective children? Or should your estate plans contemplate the transfer of wealth to your combined family? These are tough decisions, which involve difficult conversations. Have these conversations with an Estate lawyer, and arrive at your decisions with the benefit of careful Will-drafting advice.
Reproductive Technology and Estate Law
Advances in assisted reproduction and reproductive technology, including surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, pose new challenges for Estate planning, and here’s why. The law in Ontario continues to privilege genetic connection and legal adoption in defining the relationship of ‘parent and child,’ although the pendulum is beginning to swing. Until then, parents of children born with the assistance of reproductive technology will want to be sure they have carefully drafted Wills that specifically include their children in their plans of distribution and guardianship. Law reform can take time, but you can use your Will to capture your own parent-child relationship today.
Contact our Estate lawyers today for assistance with drafting your Wills and Powers of Attorney, at (519) 438-3131.