The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was a joyous one that finally provided protections for the nationwide right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. Unfortunately, far too many people now assume that they don’t need to do any additional estate planning because they are vested with the full rights protecting married couples if they decide to wed. This is simply not true. LGBT individuals still face important estate planning issues which must be addressed.
Understanding LGBT estate planning is complicated, as you need to know the specific vulnerabilities you face and you must understand how the laws do, and do not, protect you. Nehoray and Drake, LLP can help. Our legal team has a long history of assisting LGBT individuals in estate planning and in preparing for a secure future. Give us a call to get personalized advice and to get answers to questions you may have about LGBT estate planning including:
- Why is LGBT estate planning needed?
- What should be part of your plans?
- How does an LGBT estate planning lawyer help you?
Why is LGBT Estate Planning Needed?
With Obergefell v. Hodges, gay and lesbian couples got the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples. Marriage laws provide important protections for the relationship between spouses. With Obergefell v. Hodges, gay and lesbian couples who marry can now count on their spouse inheriting under intestacy law if they do not make a will and can benefit from the ability to leave wealth to a spouse without estate tax bing assessed. A spouse in a gay marriage can also claim Social Security and other benefits on a spouse’s work record in certain cases.
These are just some of the many benefits that came with the legalization of gay marriage. However, it is wrong to assume that just because you are married, you do not need estate planning. You may still have a variety of legal issues that need to be addressed in an estate plan. For example, if you are raising children with a homosexual partner, the child may be adopted by the nonbiological parent. If this does not happen, estate planning must involve steps to ensure that the non-biological parent will be able to continue parenting if something happens to the birth mother or father.
Making sure minor children are cared for by the right person is just one of many things you need to make an estate plan to accomplish. You may also have other issues to address, such as retirement planning, making sure any non-supportive family members do not contest a transfer of assets to your same sex spouse, and more. An experienced attorney can offer you personalized advice on making your plans to address the issues that matter to you.
For those who are not married, there are many additional complications to consider, including how best to transfer assets to your chosen friends or relatives.
Transgender individuals, too, can face complex issues whether they are married or unmarried, with the added complication that it can be difficult to get care as a transgender individual. You may need a nursing home care plan to ensure that you are able to go to a nursing home where your true gender, not your birth gender, is recognized. You may have non-supportive family who would remember you under your birth gender at your funeral and memorial if you have not made advanced plans. These issues must be addressed as part of a comprehensive estate plan.
What Should be Part of Your Estate Plan as an LGBT Individual?
The components of an estate plan for LGBT individuals can vary depending upon the property you own; who you wish to leave it to; your marital status; and much more. Nehoray and Drake, LLP can provide guidance into what types of tools are best used to achieve your goals. Examples could include a last will; advanced directives; trusts, and more.
How Does an LGBT Estate Planning Lawyer Help You?
Nehoray and Drake, LLP works hard to ensure LGBT individuals can take full advantage of laws that help them and benefits that are provided to them. We know of the long history of discrimination, and also understand that the future is not certain. Our legal team can provide LGBT individuals with the peace of mind of knowing that they have a plan in place in case something goes wrong. We can also provide advice on saving for retirement and otherwise securing a good future so you can protect what you are building.
To find out more about how an LGBT estate planning lawyer provides assistance, give us a call today.