You're at the annual family reunion and you notice that less than half the people there are related to each other—some are your husband's children from a previous marriage, or they're your children from a previous marriage. As for the parents at the reunion, they've remarried too. Your father passed away several years ago, and your mother recently remarried. As a result, your four new stepsiblings are in attendance as well.
If this sounds like your family, welcome to the new form of family life. Blended families now outnumber traditional families, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Rising divorce rates aren't the only reason—our longer life spans mean that many more people are outliving their spouse and remarrying.
Would you know your all of your loved one's log-ins and passwords for everything they did online? A recent incident between a widow and Apple Computers once again highlighted the need for prior planning to protect your digital interests and to minimize problems for your family.
Apple's strict data protection policies sparked debate over so-called "digital legacy" issues this week, as the company refused to supply a recently widowed Canadian woman with her late husband's Apple ID password.
In my 25 years of law practice, I have been called 3 times to assist a client who has won more than a million dollars in the lottery. What I have found is that decisions made in the first couple of days after winning will determine just how lucky that winning ticket really was. Even more frequently, we handle estate settlements where beneficiaries are, for the first time in their lives, put in the position of managing a large sum of money. The same principles apply.
A panel of experts created this list of 20 steps to take should your number get called.
Step 1: Try to keep quiet. Don't tell anyone you have won until you actually have the money. However large the sum, your life is going to change pretty drastically, and it takes a while for your newly minted circumstances to sink in. So relax, take a deep breath, and don't blabber. You want to keep your privacy for as long as possible.