Anthony Brown

Welcome to the FBD Estate Planning Blog!

Welcome to the Family By Design Estate Planning Blog!  I am delighted to host this forum for co-parents and potential co-parents and look forward to addressing the estate planning issues that will undoubtedly confront parenting partners on their journey to creating the family that they want.

A couple of givens to start: first, the ground work for estate planning for co-parents has, to a large degree, been laid by committed unmarried couples who choose, for one reason or another, to remain unmarried.  Whether it is a same-sex couple in a long term relationship who cannot get married under their state’s law, a straight couple who simply chooses to remain unmarried, or a divorced couple who are raising children separately, the estate planning strategies designed to protect unmarried co-parenting couples have been tested.

Second, while emotionally the concept of co-parenting may be foreign to many, knowing that you are not wading into unchartered waters from an estate planning perspective is a blessing.  Creating the most protected relationship from which to parent your children is the goal and there are many tools from which to choose to achieve that goal.  Wills, Trusts, Guardianship Designations and access authorizations are just a part of the comprehensive estate plan.  All of these I will be addressing in my article posts, as well as here on the blog.

Finally, understanding that there may sometimes be third parties in the mix (partners of the co-parents), there is an additional layer of protection that needs to be addressed to ensure that the co-parent’s wishes are met in their respective estate plans.  While the law protects the relationship that a parent has with their children, it will not automatically protect co-parents who are not a legal parent, unless there is a legal contractual agreement in place that defines the relationship.  An interesting wrinkle may appear if the co-parent is married to a third party.  The marriage, by law, creates protections which may supersede the co-parenting relationship.

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