Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
The majority of folks, gay or not, ought to consider creating an estate plan. But gay couples have more to gain from creating an estate plan than do heterosexual couples, because many same-sex couples are not legally married, which makes them ineligible for the benefits of laws made to protect married couples, as well as their assets. Also, an estate plan may assist in clarifying the nature of the relationship for those professionals or family members who might not approve of or understand it.
Estate Plans Address Critical Legal Issues
Federal and state laws impact how those in relationships own property together, which person gets which asset when one person in the relationship passes away, how taxes get paid and calculated, and who has the right to make medical decisions if one person in the relationship becomes incapacitated.
Usually, laws protect married couples in all those situations. For instance, spouses have the right to visit one another in the hospital, as well as inherit from each other. They also receive tax breaks. This is not the case for unmarried partners; therefore a thoughtful estate plan is crucial.
Estate Plans Also Address Non-Legal Issues
Unlike unmarried, straight couples, same-sex couples can’t rely on the norms of society to validate their most crucial relationships. A straight, unmarried couple may readily be recognized as a couple by social workers, family, friends, or hospital workers, but a gay couple may need to do more convincing.
Estate plans may indicate to all parties that your partner is your partner and that she or he must be treated as such — especially when it pertains to clearly and formally detailing your wishes. This might be vital for gay couples whose families don’t support or know about their relationship. Also, it’s crucial for decisions that do not need legal backing.
When You Should Seek Legal Counsel
Because laws that affect gay couples may be complex – particularly when it pertains to how property rights change from one state to another — see an estate planning lawyer for questions about federal and state taxes or moving to a different state. It also is an excellent idea to run the estate plan by experienced legal counsel, just to ensure that you have all your bases covered.
To discuss more information on LGBT Planning, contact Blackburn Law Firm today at 727-826-0923.