Simply put, “Without a written agreement, many courts refuse to enforce a partner’s claim against another, even if it results in inequity,” which is why financial planning (along with) estate planning is essential for polyamorous families.
As a firm specializing in socially conscious financial planning for polyamorous families, we work with what has been labeeld “non-traditional” families often, seeking to maximize your wealth base, help you secure finances for your children and causes you care about, while also protecting as much from taxes as possible.
Polyamorous Families & Your Rights
First of all, who are we as polyamorous families? There are several terms which have been used to describe “families by choice” which, fantastically, is being recognized more and more as a legal entity without having to jump through as many hoops as we have had to in the past. This is progress and we’re happy to support this forward movement.
Here are some of the terms used for polyamorous families, found via the LGTB Bar Association:
- “polyamorous families of three or more committed partners, some of whom may be metamours – those who share a partner and familial bond without being romantically connected. Some of these polyamorous families include children, and some of those co-parent as three or four, while others maintain the structure of two parents with their other partner(s) as loving adults to their children like aunts and uncles, but not parents.”
- “multi-parent families, which are most often a female same-sex couple who are co-parenting with a platonic male friend, who does not relinquish his rights as a sperm donor but instead stays on as a dad, sometimes with a partner of his own in the parenting mix. This can be a much more organic and affordable option for biological parenting for gay men as compared to surrogacy, which often costs over $100,000 and several years of effort with matching programs, physicians and attorneys. Multi-parent families also arise in non-LGBTQ contexts, in which a woman might have two men in her life who take on the role of father (perhaps one who is a husband and one who is the biological father).”
- “platonic partnering, in which two or more adults who are not in a romantic relationship band together to live as a family, which may include female friends (or sisters) sharing a household and parenting duties, a woman opting to co-parent with her gay best friend, an adult banding together with a romantic couple as a family, or a small group of friends wishing to create the bonds of family.”
Not Many Precedents to Follow
Because polyamorous families have been so often excluded from cultural recognition and are often unsupported in legal situations, we have to create our own precedents. One of the best ways to create wealth and protect it for your family is through financial planning.
Often, the combination of a trust and P.O.D.’s (pay on death) with a trust named as a beneficiary on financial accounts, can help descendants retain wealth following one member’s passing – by avoiding Probate (the court administration process following a death). This process can be completely avoided with advanced planning, both legally and financially.
We can’t stress enough the importance of finding advisors who specifically understand the nuances involved with polyamorous families so that yours is well protected, since the laws originated to support “traditional families” – so special planning is necessary to make sure you have a tight ship as far as planning goes.
Real Estate & Property Considerations for Poly Families
Real Estate can be a tricky on for polyamorous families. Because of traditional restrictions, it may be that one member of the family is not on the mortgage or the property title. Here is where a trust can come in handy as well. A member of the family can be off of the title, but on the trust. So that should something happen to the owner, the trust comes into play, splitting the gains between the survivors.
One thing to find out is whether your state or region has laws that preclude legal bequeathments in favor of a legal spouse.
“In community property jurisdictions, title is not necessarily determinative of ownership, and therefore a surviving spouse may have rights to property, even if the decedent speciﬁcally bequeathed property to or designated as beneﬁciary a non-marital partner.”
For cars and large personal property items, typically a P.O.D. or “pay on death” document can be created, listing one or more people to own or co-own the vehicle. A P.O.D. can also be used for bank accounts. Or, you can list a trust.
A seasoned Estate Planning attorney can guide you on the details of your estate planning provisions. As a polyamorous family friendly financial advisor, I can help you with a list of referrals to take care of that end of your planning.
Considering the Children (Guardianship & Financial Planning)
Advance legal documents can help support the children of a polyamorous family. These should include both short-term guardianship documents and long-term. The former being who would be authorized to pick a child up from a police department, hospital, or daycare for example and care for them short-term. The latter being who you would prefer raised your child should something happen to you.
Financially, there are tools to use for kids including 503b plans, trusts, and more tools like minor life insurance policies. Your advisor can discuss the potential wealth building strategies of each one. The key is (as with all things), starting and consistency.
Medical Considerations for Polyamorous Families
In addition to legal documents regarding property like your trust and will, poly families will benefit the most during their lives with the following documents:
- Living Will
- Power of Attorney – Medical
- Power of Attorney – Financial
Again because of “traditional family” considerations, naming specifically the people (in the order) that you want to be able to make potentially life saving medical decisions for you, well we don’t have to explain how important that is, but you can read more about it here.
And, just a simple HIPAA document can mean the difference between the hospital taking your call to tell you how your loved one is faring, or completely denying you access. “Blood” family that you may or may not get along with, could end up taking over and excluding you, but for these types of documents. Get them asap if you can!
Financial Planning and Wealth Management for Polyamorous Families
Here’s where we come in. Our goal is to help you get a total grasp of your money picture, reduce unnecessary expenses, consistently create cash flow, and grow your finances, making wealth an everyday goal to work towards together.
As a socially conscious financial planning firm, we uniquely help you invest in causes you care about. Ones that do good on this Earth. Ones that have LGBTQIA+ friendly and supportive messaging and policies (that yes, also make money).
No longer do you have to feel guilty about the investments that you hold. Each one will be in complete alignment with your conscious – consciously. Yes. Mindful investing. To put your dollars where it matters most, while protecting the people who mean the most to you.