Although estate laws have been updated to accommodate different families from what was considered traditional years ago, LGBTQ+ families still face unique challenges when estate planning in some states. As estate planning practices continue to change, there are a few things that LGBTQ+ families should keep in mind.
What role does marriage play in estate planning?
Marriage is a safe way to secure an inheritance to your spouse in the case of your untimely passing. However, marriage overall is on the decline among younger families and LGBTQ+ families.
Unmarried LGBTQ+ partners can still address their significant other in their estate planning. For partners not planning to marry, it is crucial to get a last will and testament in place. Without that, the remaining partner will not be entitled to anything in the event of a death.
What about LGBTQ+ families with children?
Marriage also doesn’t address situations involving children where only one parent or neither parent is biologically related to the child. From a legal perspective, the biological parent has all legal rights to the child. Early on, LGBTQ+ parents need court orders and documents stating that the child belongs to both parents. The court orders can come in the form of adoption paperwork or a parental ruling from a judge.
What else helps LGBTQ+ families with estate planning?
Families should plan for the worst in order to be prepared if the unexpected happens. Make sure that all important things you would want passed down, like houses, bank accounts and investments, are shared jointly with both names on the paperwork.
Keeping track of your assets and updating your estate plan frequently can help to avoid conflict among your loved ones after your death. An attorney familiar with the laws in your state may help you construct your estate plan and keep it updated.