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How Being Transgender Affects Your Estate Planning

EstPlan5

Transitioning is a personal, oftentimes private, process that may seem inconsequential to your financial future. However, there are important legal implications that could be detrimental to you if not all of your legal documents match correctly. While planning your estate, it is critical that you are open and honest with your attorney so they can provide the most accurate and beneficial assistance to you.

Keeping your Documents in Order 

Your names and pronouns need to be consistent across the board. It might be best to wait until you feel your transition is complete until you start planning all of your estate needs due to the legal implications of complete gender reassignment. If there are inconsistencies with your terminology, you may need to change your:

  • Birth certificate;
  • Social Security card;
  • Driver’s license;
  • Passport;
  • Security clearances; and/or
  • Professional licenses.

Changing your name and pronouns on the above documents require different steps for each type, including:

  • Name Change: In order for you to legally change your name in Florida, you must submit a petition to a court. Your fingerprints will need to be submitted for a criminal records check as well.
  • Birth Certificate: In Florida, our laws regarding “Vital Statistics” permit you to change your sex on your birth certificate with “original, certified, or notarized supporting documentary evidence.” You will have to fill out an application, sign an affidavit, and get a letter from a physician. If you previously have changed the gender on your passport, you also may use that as evidence.
  • Driver’s License: Recently, the National Center for Transgender Equality gave Florida a C+ rating on the friendliness of their driver’s license gender change policy. Florida law requires that you must submit a court order for your name change, and get an original statement from a physician that you are undergoing or have undergone gender transition.

Remember that changing your pronouns applies not only to you. If your child is transgender, you will need to change his or her pronouns and names on your estate documents.  It may be best to simply use the word “child,” as terms such as mother, father, daughter and son must all be changed.

Family Matters 

Your health, the health of your family members, your family dynamics, as well as your lifestyle goals are all taken into consideration while planning your estate. It’s important you have people named in wills and trusts who you’re confident will execute your last wishes. It’s possible when you die, unaccepting parents or spouses may try and change your final wishes.  It could be easier for them to disobey your will if your documents are not all in order. These problems easily can be resolved by selecting the right individual to serve as your agent under your durable power of attorney  and your personal representative or trustee under your trust or will.

Finding the Right Attorney 

Transgender clients should be confident that their attorney is supportive of their gender identity. Currently, Florida currently has no statewide law that prevents discrimination against LGBTQ people. Your lawyer should be your strongest advocate to ensure the most stable financial outcomes for the beneficiaries of your estate. You can trust Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP to provide compassionate, responsive, and diligent care for all your needs. Call us at 727-471-5868 or online to schedule your first consultation today.

Resources:

flcourts.org/content/download/403305/3458164/982a.pdf

flhsmv.gov/ddl/namechange.html

transequality.org/documents/state/florida

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