In New York State, same sex couples have access to estate planning tools that only opposite sex married couples had access to before. And even if you aren’t legally married, there are still some important things you need to know about the key aspects of LGBT estate planning.
New York LGBT Estate Planning
Since the Supreme Court decision that made marriage between same sex couples legal, gay and lesbian couples aren’t as vulnerable to intestacy laws. This is where one spouse dies without a will and the state determines who is entitled to inherit the deceased’s assets.
Before the Supreme Court decision, a spouse’s right to inherit without a will wasn’t always guaranteed. However, even though the rights of a surviving spouse is more secure for a same-sex marriage, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t create a trust or a will.
These legal vehicles that the LGBT community now has access to will help ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you pass away.
Do Gay and Lesbian Couples Need a Power of Attorney?
While the law may have been changed, not everyone in society has caught up to this new reality. People in the LGBT community can still have issues with family members about whom they choose to love and or marry.
A power of attorney can help with medical, financial and other important decisions that need to be made even before a spouse passes away. Homosexual couples find that they are challenged more frequently when they try to make these vital decisions for an incapacitated spouse than heterosexual spouses. Establishing a power of attorney now will help reduce stress and frustration later and will ensure your spouse can take care of you and your family during emergencies.
LGBT Estate Planning and Children
With same sex couples family relationships can be complicated. A spouse may adopt the step-children from their spouse’s previous marriage, a child may be adopted by the couple together, or sometimes surrogates are used to help the couple create a family.
Whatever the situation may be, ensuring that your children are recognized as your descendents and are taken care of is vital, especially if a non-legal parent becomes a guardian after you pass away.
A will and certain trusts will help make sure your wishes are carried through when you are no longer there for them.
LGBT Estate Planning and Retirement Planning
Laws regarding IRAs and other vehicles for retirement planning have also changed since same sex marriage became legal. It is important for you and your loved ones to be able to enjoy your golden years as well as after you are gone.
LGBT Estate Planning Attorney
An LGBT estate planning attorney is a lawyer who not only has an understanding of estate planning laws, but who is also sensitive to the complicated issues that can arise with same sex marriages and domestic partnerships. They can help you plan for a future together, and make sure your wishes are carried out when you pass away.
At the Law Offices of Barton Levine, we understand the complex issues and the inadequate protection from the law that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples face. We can help you with your retirement and estate planning, no matter what your situation may be.
You can access all of our free resources on estate planning here. And you can Contact Us today for a FREE consultation if you have any specific questions about your current situation.