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Estate Planning Considerations For Same-Sex Couples


Regardless of whether you are in a committed relationship or married, estate planning does not only entail what will happen if you pass away, but for what will happen during your lifetime, as well. Comprehensive estate planning is the only way to make sure yourself and your loved ones are protected. White the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015 with the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, that ruling could be overturned at any time. If so, that would be devastating for same-sex couples. Below, our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer outlines three considerations for same-sex couples.

Avoiding the Intestacy Laws in Florida 

If you pass away without a will in Florida, you are considered to have died intestate. If you die instate, your partner may not have any right to your estate, particularly if you were not married at the time of death. Your remaining assets would be passed to your children, your parents, or even your siblings. This could place your partner at great risk.

For same-sex couples, it is also often recommended that both a trust and will are created. For assets to pass to your loved ones in accordance with your will, your will must go through probate process, which is both time consuming and expensive. It is during this time that wills are open to challenges from other family members and anyone who has an interest in the estate. Using a trust as your primary estate planning tool is a way to avoid probate in most cases. As such, it may be beneficial for same-sex couples to create a trust when the relationship does not have the support of other family members.

Planning for Incapacity 

If you ever become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself, you likely want your partner to make those decisions for you. A will alone will not grant them this authority. You must also include various advance directives, such as a durable power of attorney and a designation of health care surrogate, within your estate plan that legally grants your spouse or partner the legal authority to make these decisions.

An Alternative to Adoption 

Unlike biological parents, non-biological parents do not automatically have legal rights. The only exception to this is when a non-biological parent has legally adopted a child. However, creating a comprehensive estate plan can provide an alternative to adoption. By naming your partner in your will as the child’s guardian, they will have all the same legal rights to raise your child as anyone else you would have named. It is generally recommended for both partners in a same-sex relationship to create an estate plan that names the other partner as the guardian of the children.

Our Estate Planning Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Protect You and Your Family 

If you are part of a same-sex couple and have not yet created an estate plan, it is critical that you speak to a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer as soon as possible. At Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, our seasoned attorney can help you create a plan that will protect you and your family in the future. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.




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