LGBTQIA+ Estate Planning
The Truth About LGBTQIA+ Estate Planning
Whether you are single, married, in a domestic partnership or civil union, a viable estate plan will ensure your voice is heard, your wishes are honored and your loved ones are protected from court. Without one, imagine the following terrible scenarios.
If you do not have an estate plan and your partner or spouse suddenly becomes incapacitated and the bulk of your accounts are not in your name. You will not be able to access those accounts without a court order because there is no Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). Once you lose capacity, it’s too late to create one and court is the only option. This is true even if you were legally married or in a domestic partnership or civil union with your partner.
Similarly, if your partner or spouse is ill or has an accident and ends up in the hospital without mental capacity and the health care providers do not honor your relationship, you may be excluded from being able to make decisions. Depending upon the biological family of your partner or spouse, you may even not be allowed in the hospital room. A well-drafted Advance Health Care Directive (ACHD) guarantees that you will be able to care for each other and honor each other’s wishes.
Without a DPOA or AHCD, if incapacity strikes, the only option is a Conservatorship. The court could appoint someone other than you as the Conservator. You could find yourself shutout of the process of caring for your partner or spouse and making financial and medical decisions that affect both your lives. Sadly, these stories are far too common and probably not what you or your partner or spouse want.
Another common situation where you could find yourself shutout is if your partner or spouse dies without an estate plan. Far too often surviving members of LGBTQIA+ couples have found themselves unable to make decisions for funeral arrangements. When administering your partner’s estate, you may not have a say in how the estate is run and the default laws of intestacy will determine how assets are distributed among family members. A non-married partner will get nothing. Instead, a partner’s child and other family members will inherit. This rarely, if ever, honors someone’s wishes.
Don’t put yourself and your loved ones at risk by failing to plan your estate. At Goldfarb & Luu, we will zealously fight for you and help you avoid the hazards of failing to plan as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.