Love is love, but estate planning for the LGBTQ+ community can be more complex than it should be. While significant strides have been made towards equality, there are still legal nuances to consider to ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are protected.

This blog post will explore some key elements of LGBTQ+ estate planning and the language that can empower you to build a secure future for yourself and your family.

Why is Estate Planning Important for the LGBTQ+ Community?

Even with marriage equality established, there can be roadblocks for LGBTQ+ couples. Intestacy (dying without a will) can leave your assets distributed according to state law, which may not align with your desires. A well-crafted estate plan ensures your wishes for your property and possessions are carried out, and that your chosen loved ones are taken care of.

What Protections Should You Consider?
  • Spousal Protections: A Last Will and Testament allows you to designate your spouse as your beneficiary, ensuring they inherit your assets. In some states, domestic partnership agreements can offer similar protections, but a will is the most secure option.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Review the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets. Ensure they reflect your current wishes and include your spouse or partner.
  • Medical Directives: A healthcare power of attorney allows your partner to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This is crucial, as some states may grant decision-making authority to blood relatives by default.

Planning for Children:

  • Adoption: If you have adopted children with your partner, ensure both of you have adoption finalization decrees. This strengthens your parental rights.
  • Guardianship Designation: In the unfortunate event of your passing, a will allows you to designate a guardian for your children. This ensures they are cared for by someone you trust.

Language Matters:

When drafting your estate planning documents, use clear and unambiguous language. Include your partner’s full legal name and specify your relationship using terms like “domestic partner” or “spouse.”

Considering a Living Trust:

A living trust can be a valuable tool. It allows you to transfer ownership of assets to the trust while you remain in control during your lifetime. Upon your passing, the assets are distributed according to the trust’s terms, avoiding probate court.

Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney

Every family is unique, and your estate plan should reflect that. An estate planning attorney can guide you through the legal landscape, ensuring your plan is tailored to your specific needs and offers the strongest possible protections for your loved ones.

Don’t wait to safeguard your legacy. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and discuss your estate planning goals.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.