Proper estate planning is vital for anyone who wishes to protect his or her assets and loved ones, but it is potentially more critical for same-sex couples and families, due in part to the passage of marriage equality laws. Estate planning for the LGBTQ+ community has long been a special challenge. A turning point came in in 2015 with the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, where same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide. Along with the legalization of marriage, the 2015 ruling created new opportunities for married same sex couples to benefit from estate planning strategies that were once out of reach and to better protect interests in the event of an accident or illness. Before then, estate planning for same sex couples consisted largely of trying to replicate the legal benefits of marriage.
Still, estate planning challenges remain for many LGBTQ+ individuals who entered into legal unions before marriage was even an option. A careful review of existing estate planning documents, especially those drafted before 2015, is essential. While now there is no need to draft estate planning documents differently from heterosexual spouses, same sex couples should make an effort to review their existing plan to maximize federal and state estate, gift, and income tax planning. To protect their estate and their interests, LGBTQ+ spouses must also resolve the tangled web of domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other legal arrangements they may have created with prior partners from before marriage was made legal.
Proper estate planning is vital to ensuring that your wishes are carried out during your lifetime, and your assets pass along to your loved ones in the manner you desire after your death, issues that can potentially be more complex for the LGBTQ+ community.
For all the aforementioned considerations and more, it’s smart for all couples, but especially same-sex couples, to work with estate planning attorneys. Comprehensive estate planning makes sure your unique needs are addressed. Azrael Franz has what you need, all in one place, to review your financial life from every angle to make sure you and your family are taken care of, including estate planning, tax planning, retirement income planning, Social Security claiming strategies, and more. Contact one of Azrael Franz’s estate planning attorneys, Jonathan Azrael, Paul Schwab, or Carley Wilbourne, today to set up a remote or in-person consultation regarding your estate plan. We’re here to help.