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Friday, November 8, 2019

The Importance of Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

Even with a long history of case law, estate planning can sometimes seem overwhelming for people. That’s why it isn’t hard to understand why estate planning for same-sex couples may also prove complex – regardless of whether or not you are married. Luckily, with the help of a Florida estate planning attorney with experience in estate planning for the LGBTQ community, it can be made much easier. 

Rights of Same-Sex Couples Upheld

Prior to 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the rights of same-sex couples to marry in every state, estate planning for these couples was often very difficult. But now that each state recognizes same-sex marriage, these couples are entitled to receive the same rights the opposite-sex couples have long enjoyed such as tax breaks. 

Sometimes estate planning is avoided as it is a reminder of our own mortality. However, they are extremely important. The best time to create your estate plan would have been yesterday, but the next best time is right now. We cannot predict the future and it is better to be proactive. This is especially true for same-sex couples in domestic partnerships (i.e. not married) since they open themselves up to more difficulty if they pass without identifying their partner; he or she may be left with nothing. 

Estate planning is also important while you are alive, as without the necessary documents you lack the legal authority to make important decisions regarding your partner’s medical care should they be unable to make decisions for themselves. 

Passing Intestate

Usually when an individual passes intestate (without a Will), property automatically goes to predetermined heirs of the estate, such as children. Unfortunately, for those who are not married at the time that they pass, if they do not have a Will, property does not automatically pass to their partner and he or she may find it difficult to obtain standing in order to open a probate estate and receive anything. 

In other words, it is extremely important that same-sex couples who are not married plan ahead should they wish for their partner to receive any of their property or benefits when they pass away. It is also imperative that you designate someone to make medical decisions for you should you be found legally incapacitated. Basic estate planning documents include:

  • A Last Will and Testament
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • Revocable Living Trust

The Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A. Help Same-Sex Couples in Florida with Their Estate Planning Needs

Sometimes estate planning can prove quite complex, especially for same-sex couples. However, it is extremely important that you have a plan in place to protect your wishes and the interests of your loved ones. It is best to consult with a knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney in Florida who has experience working with individuals in the LGBTQ community. At the Law Office of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A., we understand the importance of protecting what is yours. We can help with your estate planning needs. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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The Law Office of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A. assists clients in Florida, including North Pinellas County, Palm Harbor, Trinity, West Pasco County, and the surrounding areas.

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