The Importance of Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

If you are a part of a same-sex marriage or relationship, then you should take care to plan for the future of your estate and your partner in the event of your unexpected death. While it is often difficult to look this far ahead, it is sometimes essential. According to one estate planning professional, same-sex couples who were legally married in one state and then moved to a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized are no longer considered married in their new residency.

To get a divorce, a couple will more than likely have to go back to the state where they said “I do.” For example, if a couple marries if Massachusetts and then moves to Florida, they are now in a difficult situation concerning the state benefits of marriage. If one spouse dies and the couple still lives in Florida, then the Florida courts will not declare the other partner to be a spouse at the time that probate starts. That partner may not get his or her legal right to the estate of a loved one because of same-sex marriage laws in their place of residency.

Thankfully, with some careful planning, same-sex couples can avoid any significant difficulties with their estate. It’s important that the couple sits down with an attorney and plans out a very specific and detailed will in order to avoid probate arguments or difficulties with the courts regarding a same-sex marriage. A local lawyer can help you to create an estate plan that is consistent with your desires and outlines the rights that you may have had in your state where you originally were married. You will want to detail all of your wishes and desires should you die or become incompetent in this estate plan.

If you live in a state that does not support same-sex marriage, then chances are that you would not be allowed the same preferential attention as a spouse if your spouse was to become incapacitated. Therefore, you will want to create a health care powers of attorney document which outlines that you will be the caretaker for your spouse should he or she become incapacitated. Your spouse should also of the same for you. This way, the legal powers of attorney is enforceable and makes sure that you won’t be denied your rights because of a difficulty with homosexual marriage and the state constitution.

As well, you should create a durable power of attorney for property and name your spouse as the agent. He or she should also complete the same action. This will make sure that you each have the right to manage each other’s property or your joint property in the event that you should become separated by death or incapacitation. While it is always saddening and seems slightly inappropriate to think about a loved one’s death, it is important to make sure that you are aware of your situation and won’t be left without the properties or rights that you are entitled in the event of an emergency.

You may also need to consult your lawyer about tax planning since you are not permitted to take advantage of the federal laws that allow a spouse to leave everything to the other tax free. An attorney can help you to see where you can work through this caveat and possibly lessen some of the taxes on the estate division. If you need more information about estate planning for homosexual couples, then you need to use this directory to find a lawyer near you. Sit down with a legal professional to get even more information on the options available to you!