LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer) people, including gay and lesbian couples, often have different and unique needs when it comes to Life and Estate planning. We pride ourselves in being sensitive and aware of these needs and offer a wide range of uniquely tailored options to address them.
While the right of same-sex couples to marry, and the legal recognition of same-sex marriages in all U.S. jurisdictions, seems to have been definitively settled as a constitutionally protected right, there are still a few states and localities that remain defiant. This may potentially frustrate a spouse’s exercise of certain rights when a deceased loved one resided in one of these disputed jurisdictions. In addition, where one of the spouses is not a U.S. citizen, resides or holds assets abroad, additional complications can arise (see some of the considerations discussed under “International Estate & Business Planning”). As emotional and stressful as losing a spouse may be, careful planning could avoid the added strain of worrying whether your rights will be honored.
Whether to Wed, of course, is a deeply personal decision and couples, both gay and straight, may have many reasons not to marry. It is important to realize that couples who are not married are vulnerable in many ways, such as not having their relationship honored for purposes of medical decision-making; an appropriate Estate Plan can mitigate their vulnerability by clarifying rights.
There are a host of other complex and sensitive issues facing same-gender couples, particularly when children are involved.
Interestingly, there are also some creative solutions for estate planning that are unavailable to opposite-gender married couples. We specialize in helping gay individuals, couples and their families deal with these issues. Read the article Attorney Scott Squillace published on unique opportunities for gay and lesbian couples.
Read another article written by Attorney Squillace on the pros and cons, from a legal perspective, on getting married.