Lesbians, gays, bisexual individuals and transgender individuals face many unique challenges because the law does not always provide equal protection and because society is not always as accepting as it should be. While the U.S. Supreme Court has now guaranteed marriage equality throughout the nation, there are still challenges to overcome to protect your family and secure your legacy.
At Vermillion Law Firm, LLC, our attorneys have decades of collective experience providing estate planning advice and assistance to LGBT individuals and to non-traditional families headed by LGBT couples. Whether you choose to marry or not, we can assist you in taking advantage of all of the legal tools available to you to protect yourself, your partner, and your children and to ensure you have a plan in place no matter what the future brings. Give us a call for one-on-one personalized advice and to get answers to questions including:
- Why is LGBT estate planning important?
- What is involved in LGBT estate planning?
- How can a Dallas LGBT estate planning lawyer help you?
Why is LGBT Estate Planning Important?
Before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, LGBT estate planning was absolutely essential to make sure that your partner could inherit property, to ensure your partner could visit you and make medical decisions in the event of incapacitation, and to ensure that shared children could be provided for.
While marriage can provide a shortcut that gives you many legal protections, not everyone opts to get married. If you do not decide to wed but you have a partner, you will need to make sure you have taken steps to protect your partner’s rights. If you do not have an estate plan in place, your partner could be denied visitation in a hospital and there could be significant tax consequences of an inheritance. Vermillion Law Firm, LLC will help you to understand and plan for the issues that arise when you are part of a non-traditional couple and have not formally married.
If you do choose marriage, you still face challenges. Many LGBT individuals have shared children, and you need to protect the rights of your kids, especially if they have not been adopted by the non-biological parent. You may also have property owned separately acquired before marriage which must be dealt with, and you may have lingering issues to address with family members who are not necessarily fully accepting of your LGBT status.
Vermillion Law Firm, LLC knows that everyone’s situation is different, so the estate plan we create for you will be tailored to the specifics of your situation and your family life.
What is Involved in LGBT Estate Planning?
LGBT estate planning is similar in many ways to estate planning done by any person regardless of gender identity or sexual identity; however, there are added challenges due to continued prejudices in society and limitations under the law. Your estate plan may need to include detailed instructions if you are transgender regarding your attire for your funeral, how you want your obituary written, and what should be on your tombstone. This is critically important so you can be remembered the way you wish to, even if your family members were not always accepting.
Your estate plan may also need to include:
- A last will and testament providing instructions for your funeral, for who will be named as guardian of your children, and for who will inherit.
- A trust allowing for the seamless transfer of property outside of probate.
- A plan to reduce or avoid estate taxes, especially if your estate is significant and you have not legally married.
- An advanced directive or living will so your loved ones do not need to make difficult medical decisions in case of incapacity.
- A Medicaid plan to protect assets, especially if you are not married and your partner may not be entitled to the protections allowing spouses to keep some shared assets and income while Medicaid pays for nursing home care.
- The creation of a power of attorney so you can determine who will be your agent acting on your behalf in the event of incapacity.
These are just a few of many different legal tools that can be included as a part of your estate plan so you can control your destiny and ensure your partner and children are provided for.
How can a Dallas LGBT Estate Planning Lawyer Help You?
Attorneys at Vermillion Law Firm, LLC have spent decades addressing the needs of LGBT individuals and making the law work for them. To learn how we can bring our legal experience to you to help you with the creation of your estate plan, give us a call at (888)-567-5745.