Obergefell v. Hodges was a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the court determined that homosexual marriage was a protected right nationwide. After Obergefell v. Hodges, many couples married– and obtained various estate planning benefits by tying the knot. However, this does not mean that there are no special estate planning issues faced by LGBTQ individuals.
German Law can help you to identify the specific components that should be included in your estate plan and can guide you through the process of making a comprehensive plan that works for your personal and family situation. To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you with your planning process, give us a call. We’ll provide personalized advice and help you to get answers to questions you have about the estate planning including:
- What legal issues do you need to consider when making an estate plan if you are an LGBTQ individual?
- What should be a part of your estate plan?
- How can an estate planning lawyer in Minnesota or North Dakota help you?
What Legal Issues Arise for LGBTQ Individuals During the Estate Planning Process?
The specific legal issues that arise during the estate planning process are often the same for LGBTQ individuals as for anyone else who is making an estate plan. You want to ensure that you have control over what happens at the end of your life and you want to control your legacy. You also want to protect the people that you love.
The specifics of your situation will determine if there are any special issues that arise that are different from the areas of concern for cisgendered and heterosexual individuals. If you are married and simply leaving assets to your same-sex spouse, the estate planning process may not be complicated at all. In many other situations, however, there may be additional steps to take to protect yourself, your assets and your loved ones.
For example, if you have a same sex partner who you are not married to, you may need to make an estate plan to ensure that your partner inherits when you pass away and that your partner can make medical decisions on your behalf if something happens to you. Addressing estate tax issues could be important for larger estates, as you can only pass tax-free assets onto your spouse.
Whether you are married or not, if you are raising children with a same sex partner, the children will only belong biologically to one partner. This means that, unless the child has been legally adopted by the other parent, steps will need to be taken to ensure the non-biological parent is given guardianship over the child if something happens to the biological parent before the child reaches adulthood.
If you are not married and the family members related to you by blood are not supportive of you, you may have a whole host of other issues to address. For example, when some transgender people pass away, their family members will memorialize them using their “dead name,” which is the term commonly used for the birth name a transgender person was given at birth before transition. You will need to take steps to make sure this does not happen if this is your situation.
What should be a Part of Your Estate Plan?
The components of your estate plan will vary depending upon the specifics of your family life and your goals for your future. You should typically include advanced directives for healthcare; a last will and testament; trusts; a power of attorney; and a wide variety of other potential legal tools in order to ensure you have control over what happens at the end of your life and after your death.
You not only need to choose the right legal tools, but also must make sure you create legal documents correctly so they are considered valid in the eyes of the law. This could be especially important if you are worried about possible custody issues for a child or if you are concerned any of your family members may contest your will after you are gone.
How Can an Estate Planning Lawyer Help You?
Whether you are single, partnered, or married, German Law can provide guidance on potential legal pitfalls during the estate planning process and can help you to make plans to protect your family and your future. Give us a call today to find out more about how our firm helps families in Minnesota and North Dakota to make plans that are right for their needs.