Four Things To Do Before and After Getting Married

In 2013, when same-sex marriage first became legal in Maryland, there was a rush to tie the knot. Whether couples headed to the altar, the courthouse, or the leafy comfort of their own backyards, male couples and female couples alike seized the opportunity to turn their emotional bond into a legal commitment. The initial flurry…

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Married? Consider Upgrading the Deed to Your House

In 1604, Sir Edward Coke said, “Your house is your safest refuge.” Or words to that effect. He was writing in Latin, but the venerable English judge got his point across well enough. The expression has come down to us in the 21st century as “A man’s house is his castle.” The family home should…

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Estate Planning—A Gift to Those You Love

Estate Planning - A Gift to Those You Love

As 2020 draws to a merciful close, the season of giving that typically rounds out the year promises to be different. The festive gatherings we usually enjoy will be muted, if they happen at all. Video calls may substitute for the physical embrace of family and friends. And the exchange of gifts we all look forward to will likely take place through the likes of UPS rather than in person.

With so much less to plan for this year, many people are busying themselves by tackling overdue tasks. Homes are being spruced up, important papers are being organized, and missing socks are being paired with their long-lost partners.

What makes this year different, of course, is the global health emergency that makes the one thing we treasure most—human contact—unadvisable. It also makes us mindful of our own fragility and how much we value the time we have with the people closest to us.

One way to make use of this period of reflection is to plan for the unexpected in our own lives. Estate planning is a good place to start.

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Four Ways To Prepare for the Unexpected

Four Ways To Prepare for the Unexpected

In this astonishing year, where reality is even stranger than fiction, it’s hard to know what will happen next. Economic insecurity, natural disasters, and political upheaval all fuel a sense of anxiety—especially among many of us in the LGBTQ community. And of course, these worries come in conjunction with concerns about our own health and the fear of COVID-19.

In this climate of uncertainty, the best steps we can take are to control the things we can, to be ready for what could happen, even if it can be hard for us to think about. Here are five things you can do to help you prepare for the unexpected:

1. Prepare an advance directive. This legal document enables you to name someone to manage your health care if you become unable to do so for yourself. The person you choose, called your “health care agent,” can work with your doctors to help ensure that you receive the best care possible.

An advance directive also allows you to choose the type of treatment you would like to receive in an end-of-life situation, like a terminal illness. Many people simply want to be kept comfortable when the end is near. Others choose interventions, such as artificial nourishment and hydration. Whatever your wishes, preparing an advance directive will enable you make them clear to your health care agent and your doctors.

Your advance directive can also say who should make your final arrangements when the time comes. This sensitive and important responsibility would typically fall to your next of kin. Many of us in the LGBTQ community would rather name someone close to us—a dear friend or important family—to take on this role. Your advance directive is the perfect document for naming the best person for the job.

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