To many people who identify as LGBTQ+, it can feel like the law isn’t designed to help them. While this is true in some ways, there are specific measures LGBTQ+ individuals can take to create legal protections that suit their needs.
At Stone Legal Group, we offer many estate planning services that can be incredibly valuable to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Privacy can be very important. Some LGBTQ+ people are fully out, but not everyone. Being out is not a binary state; you may be out to some people but not others. This is often a matter of personal safety, both for yourself and for your loved ones.
Normally, when you pass away, your estate goes into Probate and becomes public record. This can result in details of your life and relationship becoming public. Nobody deserves to be outed without their consent; a Revocable Living Trust can prevent that from happening. The Revocable Living Trust avoids the public Probate process, which prevents your personal life – and those of your loved ones – from entering the public record against your will. This also provides privacy regarding the assets of your estate. In addition, it can provide for immediate access of funds to your loved ones upon your passing. Lastly, a Revocable Living Trust will save the costs and time associated with Probate.
The idea that a family is one father, one mother, and biological children is incredibly outdated. Modern and blended families have redefined the definition of family. Sometimes there are adopted children, sometimes children through surrogacy, and sometimes biological children through previous marriages.
While same sex marriage is legal in Kentucky now, it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you’re in a domestic partnership, you likely already understand the law doesn’t consider that union to be the same as a marriage. The same is true for unmarried cohabitation.
When you pass away, even your spouse is not automatically entitled to your assets in the state of Kentucky. Domestic partners have no rights of inheritance without the protection of additional legal documents. In addition, while the law provides some provisions for biological children and adopted children, surrogate children will not have the same protections if they are not legally adopted.
That’s where a Last Will and Testament becomes essential. By spelling out exactly how your assets are to be distributed when you pass, you can provide for your loved ones regardless of their legal relationship to you. In addition, you can make provisions for a Guardian in your Last Will and Testament who will take care of your children upon your passing if they are still a minor.
If your partner becomes dangerously ill or hurt, you have no automatic legal rights to make medical or financial decisions on their behalf. It can happen also that you are denied access to their bedside.
You deserve equal rights, whether for visitation or making important medical decisions – the same rights heterosexual couples receive. Same-sex couples are more vulnerable to discrimination from doctors and hospital personnel, so it is important to know your rights and have the necessary legal paperwork in place for your protection. By naming your partner or spouse as your Durable Power of Attorney, you can ensure important medical decisions are made by someone you love and trust.
The Durable Power of Attorney also empowers your partner to make financial decisions. They can take care of your day to day affairs when you are no longer able to do so yourself.
In addition, to the services named above, members of the LGBTQ+ community, can benefit from the following services:
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
- Living Will and Health Care Surrogate Designation
- Special Needs Trust
While the legal system is not set up to be beneficial to members of the LGBTQ+ community, a few basic estate planning steps can go a long way towards protecting your loved ones, family and assets.