BASIC ESTATE PLANNING
Estate planning for LGBT couples and individuals can be a complex procedure. Most LGBT folks need more documents than the average heterosexual coupleSince most states do not recognize our relationships, we have more hoops to jump through to establish our intentions.
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has changed things for married lesbian and gay couples. Married equality means same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. Those marriages must be recognized by every state in the Union. Even the ones that hate the idea.
All federal benefits are available to married same-sex couples. This includes Social Security surviving spouse benefits and VA benefits.
Estate planning is more than figuring out what happens to your stuff after you die. You also need to think about what you want during your lifetime. How do you protect your partner, your kids and your property? What do you need to do?
A complete estate plan looks at everything. You and your lawyer need to work together to accomplish your goals.
You must decide what are your goals. What do you want?
While you may have a general idea of what you want, you may not know how to accomplish it.
The situation surrounding LGBT rights around the country remains fluid. Family law issues continue to be problematic. Your rights concerning children may depend on the state in which you live. And, the rights you have in your home state may not exist in the neighboring state. So what happens when you travel?
The questions are many. Here are some of them:
Preparing your estate plan, in collaboration with a good lawyer, is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your property.
Can you do it on your own? Sure. But, what happens if you don't do it right? That won't be known until its too late to make any changes. And, where does that leave your partner...your kids...your family?
Talk to a lawyer who has experience with LGBT legal issues. Many lawyers are jumping on the bandwagon and have no background in LGBT law. Ask around. It's an investment in your present...your future...your peace of mind.
A SAMPLING OF BASIC ESTATE PLAN
DOCUMENTS & CONSIDERATIONS:
WHAT TO DO WHEN MEETING
WITH YOUR LAWYER.
I tell my clients, "If you don't understand what I'm talking about, then I'm not doing my job."