Our “Ask a Question” mailbag addresses Estate Planning for LGBT Married Couples.
“Right after the legalization of gay marriage my husband and I married in Pennsylvania. Since then, we have not updated any documents. Given the outcome of the Presidential election, we feel like we need to get things done. What is Estate Planning for LGBT Married Couples?”
Estate Planning for LGBT Married Couples Address the Same Issues as Any Other Married Couple.
Though there is no immediate evidence of any attempts limiting recent same-sex marriage gains, several members of the incoming Trump administration have well known anti-same-sex marriage beliefs. The possibility of adverse change is prompting people to act.
Every couple’s situation is unique. As a result, I would need to know more about your assets and wishes to provide you detailed estate planning advice. But, here are the basics. In almost every case a married couple needs Wills, Durable General Powers of Attorney and Medical Powers of Attorney/Living Will.
Durable General Power of Attorney.
If one of you should become incapacitated, that person’s assets might remain outside the other husband’s control. For example, if your husband became incapacitated you would have no right to access a bank account in his name. Further, his tenant in a rental property could stop paying rent, and you would be powerless. By executing a Durable General Power of Attorney for each other, your husband may act on your behalf financially.
Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney.
Should one of you be unable to make medical decisions the power to act falls to the other. However, HIPPA rules may restrict medical information access, along with other issues that may delay your acting. By executing a Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will, you grant each other the right to review medical information and broad powers that will enable quick decision making.
Last Will and Testament.
In Pennsylvania, if you die married without a Will with a parent living, your parent receives part of your estate. Further, if you die married with a child, your assets are divided between your spouse and child. As a result, if you execute a valid Will, your real wishes are known. You can avoid the problems an intestate estate presents.
Further, many states allow you to create protective trusts for your spouse. These trusts allow your husband to enjoy the inheritance but provide shelter from future spouses, creditors, and legal entanglements. None of this protection exists without a well drafted Will.
Get it Done Time.
In conclusion, all married couples need estate planning. Many estate planning options exist, and some may fit your needs better than others, so I suggest that we set up a phone conference. My firm focuses on only estate matters. Consequently, we regularly address Estate Planning for LGBT Married Couples. As a result, we are ready to discuss your particular situation. We would be happy to assist you in putting your house in order.
Feel free to set up a phone conference! Contact our office for a free consultation. We try to make the process as painless as possible.
Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!
Peter Klenk, Esq., LL.M.