The Basics: Estate Planning Issues for Same Sex Couples

Since obtaining the right to marry, same-sex couples have experienced some significant advancements. There are some special considerations, however, that same sex couples must pay attention to when estate planning. For one, same-sex couples must often perform extra planning to fully address. As a result, the assistance of an estate planning attorney can be helpful for these couples. This article will review five important steps that same-sex couples should follow when involved in estate planning.


Tip # 1 – Properly Plan for Children


While there are laws in place to make sure that a parent’s assets pass to their children, same-sex parents must be careful to make sure that any adopted children are properly positioned to inherit an estate. If a same-sex couple’s children are not properly provided for, a same-sex couple’s assets might pass to other family members including aunts, uncles, or other family members.


Tip # 2 – Properly Plan for Medical Needs


Same-sex spouses frequently face obstacles when making plans for spouses who are incapacitated or unable to care for themselves. There are two important tools that same-sex couples should use in these situations: health care proxies and living wills.


Health care proxies allow an individual to appoint an individual to make decisions regarding their medical treatment. If a person becomes incapacitated, these proxies also allow physicians to discuss medical details with appointed individuals.


Living wills discuss what measures should be taken to prolong a person’s life in the event that person becomes incapacitated and unable to communicate with others.


Tip #3 – Take Your Marital Status Into Consideration


Even though the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, there are still various complications and loopholes regarding same-sex marriages being recognized. As a result of these many loopholes, there are some individuals who are married and not aware of it while there other individuals who are not actually married and think they are.


Tip # 4 – Use Estate Planning Devices Besides A Will


A will helps same-sex couples clearly state where assets should pass when one of the partners dies. Even though wills serve this very important purpose, there are other important estate planning tools that same sex couples should use as well.


One of these other tools is a power of attorney, which provides a spouse with the ability to act as a representative of their partner in certain financial or medical situations. Trusts are another pivotal estate planning tool, which can help to address various asset related issues.


Tip #5 – Plan Carefully


Same-sex couples should avoid using any do it yourself methods for estate planning. Many of these documents still do not take all of the unique considerations of same-sex couples into account. Because these situations are often complex, it is frequently a wise idea for same-sex couples to obtain the assistance of New York estate planning attorney. Talk to an attorney our law firm today so that you can fully anticipate the many complexities that can arise in estate planning.  

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