When it comes to families, many families share common traits, but there’s no denying that we’re all different! The concept of family appears simple, but is quite complex in reality. Families today come in more varied forms than ever before – blended families, step-families, GLBT families and grandparent-led families, to name a few. Statistics show that non-traditional families make up a significant sector of our population and face unique estate planning issues.

A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP/LIFE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT can be a helpful tool, because it can specify the responsibilities and boundaries of the arrangement. It can also be helpful even if the relationship is non-romantic.

A Life Partnership Agreement can established how property is owned and titled. It can establish whether income, gifts or inheritances belong to one partner, or both. It can establish who pays for what, and specifies how finances and ownership will be determined if the relationship ends.

Additionally, this agreement can provide legal evidence of the relationship if it’s ever needed.


If there are children involved, a Parenting Agreement might be beneficial, especially if you ever have to prove in court that you and your partner have agreed to care jointly for the children. However, in most states, courts are not bound by Parenting Agreements; they simply have to provide for the best interest of the child. But if a surviving partner can show a Parenting Agreement in which both partners have provided for the best interest of the child, your chances are better. Also, like a Life Partnership Agreement, a Parenting Agreement can delineate specific responsibilities when it comes to caring for the children and who pays for what.

The laws are always changing and are very confusing. They also vary from state to state.

If you have a non-traditional family, you should plan ahead for the unexpected, address concerns, ask questions and become informed on options that are available. Once you have made the decision to plan for the future, the experienced attorneys at Martha C. Brown & Associates can help you establish an estate plan that is appropriate for you with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long term care planning, asset-protection plans and assistance with Medicaid and VA.

Let us help you achieve peace of mind.  Call for your appointment today at 314/962-0186.