Estate Planning for the LGBTQ CommunityNo matter what your sexual orientation or identity is, The Village Law Firm is here to help. (Our name is The Village Law Firm, for heck’s sake!) As a NYC-based firm, we welcome people of every stripe (well, except for maybe Trump supporters).
Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples
Since the United State Supreme Court recognized the equal rights of same-sex couples to marry in 2015, estate planning for same-sex couples has been nearly identical to estate planning for hetero-sex couples. Still, if you are in a nontraditional marriage of any kind, there may be a greater chance that your wishes would be contested, so it’s particularly important to put your legal documents in place. Additionally, if you die or become incapacitated in a state that is hostile to LGBTQ couples, the laws protecting your relationship may not be immediately enforced or may require a legal fight. These are just some of the reasons why it’s so important for LGBTQ couples to have a well-thought out estate plan in place, leaving no doubt about who you want to make life and death decisions for you, manage your finances if you were in the hospital, and receive your assets when you pass.
Ensuring Custody of Your Children
Another common issue that LGBTQ couples deal with is the right to raise their own children. If you are not the biological parent of your child, it’s important to establish your parental rights, so there would be no question about the custody of the child if one parent dies. The best way of securing your parental rights if one parent passes is through a second-parent adoption when both parents are still alive.
Estate Planning Issues for Transgender Individuals
If you are transgender, there are a few things to be particularly aware of in planning your estate. If you have changed your name, make sure that your legal documents use your legal name. We also recommend that your documents include any previous names in case there is a question about identity or ownership of assets.
If your child is transgender, be sure that estate planning documents are clear about the child’s identity. Terms like son and daughter or niece and nephew can result in a transgender child or adult being left out of a will or trust.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, you have just as much right as anyone else to have your wishes respected. But it’s important to work with an attorney experienced in dealing with these issues to ensure that your rights will be enforced.
If you would like to ensure that your wishes are respected, we’d love to help you. Simply contact our firm to schedule a consultation.