If you are part of the LGBTQ community, the need to have a comprehensive estate plan in place takes on a heightened importance. Fortunately, laws in the United States relating to LGBTQ issues have started to change for the better in recent years; however, change takes time. In the meantime, a well drafted estate plan can go a long way toward protecting you, your partner, and your loved ones.
The East Brunswick LGBTQ estate planning attorneys at Levine, Furman & Rubin, LLC understand the legal issues that may impact you and your loved ones. That knowledge and experience allows us to create an estate plan that protects you, your assets, and your loved ones both now and in the future.
Why LGBTQ Estate Planning Is Important
Not all that long ago, same-sex marriage was prohibited throughout the entire United States. As a result of the tireless efforts of members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters, the Supreme Court of the United States made marriage equality the law, meaning no state can prohibit same-sex marriage. For same-sex couples who choose to enter into marriage, many of the legal issues previously faced by same-sex couples are no longer an issue. Not all couples decide to marry though. In addition, while the ability to legally marry has eradicated some of the legal issues faced by members of the LGBTQ community, it has not erased all of the issues. Some common legal issues you may still face as a member of the LGBTQ community include:
- Decisions-making authority – in the event of your incapacity, you likely want your partner to have the legal authority to make crucial health care related decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. If you are not legally married, however, your partner will not have that authority unless you plan ahead. Granting that authority ahead of time in an advanced directive is particularly important if you believe an unsupportive family member might not recognize your partner’s status in your life.
- Children – if you and your partner/spouse have decided to become parents, there is a good chance that adoption, in some form, is involved. To ensure that both parents have equal legal rights to your child, and that your child is recognized as an heir to your estates, special care must be taken in your estate plans.
- Challenges by family members – any “interested party” could decide to challenge your estate plan; however, if you have an unsupportive parent, or other family member, the odds of that happening increase. Consequently, the need for a well drafted, rock solid, estate plan also increases.
- Transgender issues — if your gender does not match the gender on your birth certificate, issues could arise both with your health care in the event of an emergency, and in your wishes with regard to your funeral and burial planning at the end of your life. Proper estate planning can resolve these potential problems before they arise.
The New Jersey LGBTQ Planning attorneys at Levine, Furman & Rubin, LLC understand the legal issues that you may encounter as a member of the LGBTQ community. Through careful estate planning, we can plan for, and prevent, problems from arising that could interfere with your wishes. Contact the team today by calling (732) 238-6000 or by filling out our online contact form.