Family arrangements are diverse. Some New Yorkers still have a “traditional” nuclear family with parents who remain married. However, the standard model of husband, wife, kids, in-laws, and grandkids no longer represents the majority. Instead, most families have some complexities. There are divorces, new marriages, stepchildren, adopted children, grandparents raising their grandchildren, nephews moving in with aunts, and countless other scenarios.
One of the key reasons to be prudent about selecting an elder law estate planning lawyer with significant experience is so that the professional can provide insight into common issues that affect your specific situation. The longer the legal team has been around, the more likely they are to have worked on plans similar to yours, able to craft the package that best protects you and you loved ones. Over the years, many trends become clear.
For example, one of the most common causes of family strife are disagreements between adult children and step-parents. It is quite common for parents to re-marry after a divorce, setting up potential conflicts between a subsequent spouse and children from the first marriage.
On one hand, there may be disagreement about inheritances. How is an estate to be divided between a second spouse and children? Technically the same problem between spouse and children can arise even without a divorce. But in reality, there is a far higher chance of problems if the surviving spouse is not also the biological parent of the adult children.
The concerns don’t end with inheritances. Problems may also arise even before a passing, when a parent ages and there are disputes about caregiving for the senior between the new spouse and adult children.
A famous example of this is taking place right now, as last week reports surfaced regarding famous disc jockey and radio personality Casey Kasem. The celebrity is now 81-years old; according to his family his health is on a steep decline. Unfortunately, there appear to be clear disagreement about the senior’s care in his golden years.
According to an ABC News report, Kasem’s children and brother have allegedly not seen him for months. They claim that he is being shielded from them by his wife. The adult children, three from a previous marriage, claim that Kasem’s wife will not answer their calls and turns them away if they show up at the door. They believe that she is taking advantage of his frail condition.
One of the adult children explained, “”He can’t really speak, but he knows we’re there. And last time we saw him, he could shuffle a little bit. He had a hard, very hard, time walking. He was just deteriorating due to Parkinson’s disease,”
For help putting plans in place to prevent possible feuding in your family down the road, consider contacting out NY elder law estate planning attorneys today.