With the recent ruling of the Defense of Marriage Act and subsequent IRS guidance on tax filings, today’s definition of “family” has changed substantially.
But honestly, the government and corporations are just beginning to catch up with today’s household. For millions of Americans, the typical family of a wife and a husband with 2.5 kids and a dog changed decades ago. Many adults today never even knew what that was like.
Today we have what has become known as the “blended family.” Some configurations may include young adults well into their twenties living at home with their baby boomer parents.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Here’s Exactly How Many College Graduates Live Back at Home,” at The Atlantic, Feb. 26, 2013.]
For years, we’ve heard about empty nesters who’ve had their divorced adult children (with grandchildren) move back into the family home. Now perhaps the opposite is true, as one in every four divorces is among couples age 50 or older — dubbed the “gray divorce.”
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How parents can adjust to an empty nest, avoid ‘gray divorce,'” at Minnesota Public Radio, Aug. 27, 2013.]
[CLICK HERE to read the report, “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, March 2013.]
Some household units span multiple generations, especially now that more seniors are living well into their 80s and 90s. It’s not unusual to see a household with an elderly senior, baby boomer with teenager and an adult child of the baby boomer with an infant and/or grade school-aged child. You have to wonder how all these generations can agree on what to watch on television.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “3 Generations Under One Roof,” at AARP, April, 2013.]
[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Multigenerational Households,” at the U.S. Census Bureau, Aug. 2013.]
Then there’s the blended family created by second and third marriages, wherein different configurations of children, stepchildren and half-siblings live together, at least part of the time, in one household. Additionally, with the increasing acceptance of same-sex marriages, some may assume that adoptions will become more commonplace.
All of these combinations lend a whole new meaning to the word “dependent,” especially where taxes, insurance and estate planning are concerned. It will be interesting to see how well employers adapt their benefit programs to incorporate these new family issues.
For example, trying to figure out how to cover everyone in the household with health care insurance — one of the new mandates of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — may be tricky. In a blended household in which some of the children live full time while others live part time, some may be covered by the household parent’s health insurance policies while others are covered by the ex-spouses’ — per the divorce agreements. However, say an ex’s policy doesn’t cover much-needed dental or vision insurance — can you cherry pick who gets what under your employer’s policy?
Or say you’re about to get remarried, and both of you have children of your own. If you and your spouse already have separate wills or trusts, those will need to be revised to reflect your new life circumstances so that all of your children — and any new ones resulting from the union — are protected now and in the future.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Complex Personal Issues Cloud Insurance Decisions,” at WebMD.com, 2013.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Blended Family Friday,” at Huffington Post, Sept. 6, 2013.]
If you are wondering what insurance products can help meet the interests of all of the members of your family, we’d like to help.
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This material is not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Consult with a tax advisor or attorney before making a decision about your individual situation.