Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community face special challenges that call for strategic estate planning. Making informed decisions today about essential matters like your Will, Financial Power of Attorney, and Advance Medical Directive can help you protect yourself and the people you care about most.
With the help of an attorney, you can most of your legal rights by preparing an estate plan to protect yourself, your spouse or partner, and your family in case of disability or death. Your attorney can guide you through the planning process and recommend the options best suited to your circumstances.
Whether you are single, partnered, or legally married, an effective estate plan will help you prepare for whatever lies ahead.
Why Estate Planning?
Estate planning is especially important for same-sex couples and other members of the LGBT community. Without a well-crafted estate plan in place, important people in your life may receive no inheritance upon your death, taxes may cut deeply into your assets, and administering your estate may be a long and contentious process.
For example, without a Will to guide them, the courts would be forced to choose someone to administer your estate and to serve as the guardian of any minor children. A valid Will helps to ensure that your assets go to the people or charities you designate, and that your estate and your children are cared for by someone you know and trust.
Equally important are your financial Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directive, which allow you to designate someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to. Without these documents, it could be necessary to have the court appoint a legal guardian to handle these matters for you—a costly and cumbersome process.
Effective estate planning can help prevent potential problems. It will ensure that your spouse or partner, your children, or your favorite charitable organizations are provided for. It can reduce your estate taxes. And it will give you peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens, your affairs are in order.