In 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges finally recognized that every lesbian and gay person in America had the same rights to marry their loving partner as heterosexual couples. Marriage equality was a hard fought battle, and it was an important fight because marriage brings many benefits associated with estate planning. Unfortunately, even with the legalization of gay marriage, LGBTQ estate planning often remains more complicated than the estate planning process for straight and cisgender individuals.
If you are a lesbian, gay man, bisexual individual, or transgender individual, you need to get the necessary legal help to protect yourself and your loved ones. Estate planning issues could arise related to retirement, end of life issues, financial planning, guardianship of children, your legacy, and much more. Eghrari Law Firm understands the unique issues involved in LGBTQ estate planning and we provide personalized advice to clients throughout Suffolk County. Give us a call to speak with an estate planning attorney about your personal situation and to get answers to general questions including:
- What is involved in LGBTQ estate planning?
- Why is it important to get help with LGBTQ estate planning?
- How can a Suffolk County LGBTQ estate planning lawyer help?
What is Involved in LGBTQ Estate Planning?
LGBTQ individuals, like straight and cisgender individuals, have a wide array of different financial situations, family situations, and goals for the future. Because no two people are the same, no two estate plans and legacy plans are the same. The steps you will need to take and the tools that you will need to use are going to be chosen to address your own unique needs. However, some of the different issues that you may need to consider when making your plans include:
- Providing for a partner, whether you opt to get married or not. This can be especially important if you are concerned that any of your family members or heirs could challenge your will.
- Protecting assets. There are risks faced during your lifetime and after death which could result in a threat to your nest egg. You need to consider what will happen to your assets in the event of death or in a situation where you or your partner need costly nursing home care. Other potential threats, such as a lawsuit if you own your own business, also must be considered.
- Making provisions for minor children. If you are raising kids with a partner and either partner is not the adoptive or biological parent of the child, then the legal relationship is a tenuous one. You must make provisions for who will care for the child if something happens to either parent.
- Addressing end of life issues. Who will make decisions about your care? This can be a difficult issue if you have a partner your family isn’t supportive of or if there are different ideas amongst your partner and other family members about what your wishes might be.
- Planning for retirement. The delay in the recognition of gay marriage means you may not be able to count on qualifying in a timely manner for retirement benefits under a same-sex spouse’s work records. This can make it more challenging to financially plan for retirement.
- Legacy planning. If you are transgender and worried that you won’t be remembered by the right name or gender identity, or concerned that your family won’t recognize your partner, you may need to go beyond just creating a will when making your estate plan.
These are just a few of the possible things Eghrari Law Firm could provide assistance with. Our legal team is dedicated to helping you to make the law work for you, and we are especially focused on helping LGBTQ people who have not always benefited from equal protection under the law.
Why is it Important to Get Help With LGBTQ Estate Planning?
Whether you have chosen to marry, are single, or have a partner but are not married, you need to make sure you provide detailed instructions to protect yourself and the people you love. Your attorney can help you to identify the issues that need to be addressed in your situation so you can make the most informed choices. Everyone’s situation differs, so it is up to you to work with your attorney to identify potential problems and to set forth goals that your lawyer will help you to achieve.
You do not want to leave your legacy to fate. It’s also a bad idea to try DIY estate planning and possibly make mistakes that could affect your family or your autonomy and security at the end of your life. LGBTQ estate planning means you won’t have to worry about whether your plans are in place.