Estate plans have been changing quite a bit over the past few years, not only because of changing laws and new tools for protecting your assets and your heirs, but also because our priorities as a society are changing and growing. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal sums up the situation well:

“Even the simple question of who your heirs will be is getting more complicated. Nowadays more people are considering pets and even children posthumously conceived from genetic material in their estate-planning mix, say financial advisers. That often means setting up trusts that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable.”

Some of these “new” trust arrangements include:

Pet trusts: Money set aside in trust to be distributed to your pet’s caretaker as per your instructions. Some people choose to make the caretaker the trustee of the trust as well, others choose to have a separate trustee who can ensure the caretaker is caring for your pet according to the guidelines in the trust.

Trusts for posthumously conceived children: As fertility treatments get more and more advanced, “a growing number of states are passing laws defining the inheritance and Social Security rights of posthumously conceived children. Earlier this month, legislation took effect in Iowa granting posthumously conceived children the right to participate in trusts. Texas, Washington, Colorado and North Dakota confer similar rights.”

As technology advances, and as the legal system works to keep up with it, you have more and more options when it comes to protecting your family and passing on your estate as you choose. If you have questions about unique estate planning choices please don’t hesitate to contact our office.