Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is important to me for two very personal reasons: my son and daughter. Through their eyes, their lived experiences, I have learned a lot in these last years. I couldn’t be prouder to be their father.
For a very long time, the LGBTQ+ community has not been adequately served by the legal profession. That is probably an understatement. Law offices can feel unwelcoming if you don’t fit an arbitrary idea of ‘normality’ and it’s difficult to entrust personal details about your life, loved ones, and finances if you can’t trust that your attorney believes strongly in equal rights for you and those in your life.
Because of prejudice and bigotry, LGBTQ+ individuals often need to seek family outside of biological connections. The people they choose to love, who support them, become their family. These families are not recognized by the law, so it is important to take formal steps to protect them, such as a Durable Power of Attorney, a Revocable Living Trust, and a Last Will and Testament.
Through a Durable Power of Attorney, you can grant legal authority to your partner or husband/wife to make critical medical and financial decisions. Should you become incapacitated, they can take care of your day to day affairs when you are no longer able to do so yourself. 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.
Privacy is important. Some LGBTQ+ people are fully out, but not everyone. This is often a matter of personal safety, both for yourself and for your loved ones. In order to protect privacy, it is a good idea to establish a Revocable Living Trust. It bypasses the public Probate process, which allows the details of your private life to remain that – private. It avoids expensive legal fees, saves time and costs associated with Probate, and gives immediate access of funds to loved ones.
Everyone needs a valid Last Will and Testament that fully honors their wishes. Without this written protection, there is no legal recognition of long-term partners, same-sex spouses, surrogate children, or trusted friends who have become like family. If not specified by legal documentation, it’s possible for your property to go to your biological family members, against your wishes. In addition to biological children, adopted, surrogate and foster children need to be protected. If you have a minor child, a Will is the only testamentary document that allows a guardian to be nominated.
There are so many things to consider when planning your estate. Being informed is the first step. No matter who you choose for legal representation, you should be respected, you should be heard, correct pronouns and names should be used, and solutions should be created to fit your specific needs.
I am a proud father and Stone Legal Group is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. All gender identities and sexual orientations are welcome at Stone Legal Group, including non-binary and transgender people.
Hon. Thomas K. Stone
Principal & Owner
Stone Legal Group, PLLC