Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter affair. There is no one estate plan that is going to be suitable for every family, because each situation is unique. The best way for one family to proceed may not be appropriate for the next.
This is why it is important to work with an estate planning attorney who will provide you with personalized attention. When you feel comfortable working with an attorney who understands your situation thoroughly, you can ultimately craft a tailor-made estate plan that is ideal for you and your family.
With the above in mind, traditionally, estate planning for members of the LGBT community has been a very unique thing. Before gay couples could get legally married in the eyes of the law, people who were in committed relationships did not enjoy certain protections that married couples are entitled to under federal and state laws.
For example, if you are legally married, even if you die without a will or a trust, your spouse would be in line for an inheritance. Plus, your spouse would be empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
The estate tax is another factor. There is an unlimited marital estate tax deduction. As long as both of the people involved are American citizens, unlimited tax-free asset transfers are allowed through the utilization of the unlimited marital deduction.
All of these protections are important, but they were never afforded to same-sex couples until the legalization of same-sex marriages. Certain states recognized same-sex marriages before the federal government did, but due to a relatively recent Supreme Court ruling, the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages.
Planning Is Still Important
Planning is still important, even if you are legally married in the eyes of the law. No one has ever suggested that estate planning is not necessary for married couples, and nothing has changed, regardless of your sexual orientation.
You should discuss your financial position, your legacy goals, and your family dynamic with a licensed attorney so that you can devise an effective plan.
Plus, there are many gay people who are not legally married. Some are in committed relationships, and some are not. For these people, estate planning is an absolute must.
If you are ready to get started, our firm would be glad to help. We can get to know you, answer all of your questions, and help you put a plan in place if you decide to proceed.
To Schedule a Free Consultation
If you are interested in the possibility of working with our firm after learning these facts, please select our “Workshops” tab to RSVP for a free estate planning workshop. At that workshop you will be offered a free one-hour consultation with an attorney: www.collinslawgroup.com/seminars/