I ran across an interesting article addressing estate planning for “modern families,” including “blended families,” same sex marriages, and multi-generational families.

Many of these families could benefit from traditional estate planning in the sense that they should speak to an attorney who can address some of their concerns. However, the first step for anyone wishing to begin on their estate plan should be to know and understand what the would like to do. For example, in a blended family, it is important to discuss what assets should go to which children and how to address children from prior marriages with a current spouse.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court case on same sex marriage has for the time being ensured that married same-sex couples are treated the same as heterosexual married couples. However, the important distinction is still “married.” Generally, a couple must be married in order to fully benefit from California community property. Otherwise, a long term partner may not have the same rights as a spouse. Also similar to heterosexual couples without children, couples in same sex marriages without children should consider who their estate should go to (if you do nothing, laws of intestacy will apply).

Many of these issues are modern twists to traditional estate planning but can be addressed in similar ways. The first step is to visit an attorney to discuss your concerns and how to adequately protect your interests.

The article is “Modern Families’ Unaddressed Estate Planning Challenges.”