Unique Estate Law is gay-owned and operated and is a proud and vocal supporter of Minnesota’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community. We take special efforts, to give supportive and unique legal advice to our LGBT clients. Unique Estate Law has a special understanding of the specific needs of our gay community and the ignorance with which it is often met in our legal system.
Unique Estate Law is aware of the biases that are inherent in many of the country’s judicial systems as it pertains to the lesbian and gay community. These prejudices are particularly notable in cases in which gay and lesbian partnerships are involved. While progressive Minnesota law and the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions of Windsor and Obergefell have completely changed the landscape of same-sex marriage for the better, the inherent personal biases of some members of the judicial system are slower to change. Our firm has a long history of representing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients and will give you the understanding you expect from a lawyer handling these important matters.
We can provide unique advocacy in a variety of legal areas, including:
Adoptions for Same-Sex Couples
Minnesota began recognizing same-sex marriages in 2013 and the United States Supreme Court changed the landscape of same-sex marriage for the rest of the country in it's Windsor and Obergefell decisions. Where once our marriages were considered either sub-par to heterosexual marriages, or in many cases non-existent, we now have been placed in many ways on the same plane as our straight friends. However, many of us have yet to be married, or choose not to marry, our long-term partners. If you are in a same-sex relationship, regardless of whether or not you have married, it is critical that you plan for the future. You need to ensure that you choose who handles your medical decisions or inherits your assets.
In addition, the above decisions did not change Minnesota law regarding the determination of legal parentage. In other words, if your wife gives birth to a child, simply listing you on the birth certificate DOES NOT make you that child’s parent. While we generally don’t lose sleep at night worrying that a Minnesota court will not grant you parental rights should something happen to the biological parent, we are very concerned that another state may not be as understanding as Minnesota. If you are traveling to a state that is less supportive of LGBT rights and something happens to your wife, you risk having that state’s court determine your rights over your child!
GET A STEP-PARENT (if you’re married) or SECOND PARENT (if not) ADOPTION NOW! Protecting your relationship with that child is the most important thing you can do right now!
Wills and Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
Thankfully, Minnesota respects the intent of the testator when he or she has drafted a will in most instances, regardless of your sexual orientation. So, if you indicate in your will that you wish your assets to go to your spouse or partner, they will, absent a meritorious legal challenge. You can pick whomever you want to leave property, and in almost every case you can exclude individuals from receiving your assets, as well. And while the recent Supreme Court decisions have changed the rules of intestacy for those of us who have married, it's important that you direct where you want your assets to go, especially in cases of contingency. A proper estate plan will ensure your loved ones are cared for when you pass.
Complications often arise concerning children and guardianship after you pass. Unique Estate Law can thoroughly discuss the options, and potential pitfalls, regarding your children's fate after your death. This is of particular importance in cases where one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage, and in cases where one partner has adopted a child but the other has not. While a testamentary guardian can be nominated in a will, Minnesota law overrides some of these nominations under specific circumstances. You should know yours, so that you have a clear understanding of how securely you can protect your child's future upon your passing and if there is anything you might want to do beforehand to make your plan stronger.
Our Estate Planning Packages for gay and lesbian families include wills/trusts, as well as healthcare directives and durable powers of attorney for each partner/spouse to ensure that your affairs can be tended by your loved one in the event you are unable to do so.
We assist our clients in the following areas:
- Codicils (Will Revisions)
- Healthcare Directives
- Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances
At Unique Estate Law, we recommend discussing a complete estate plan for you, your partner/spouse, and your family. Our LGBT Estate Planning Package provides for the needs of everyone in the family and includes:
- a full consultation to assist in designing your custom plan
- wills or trusts for both you and your partner/spouse
- healthcare directives
- financial powers of attorney to ensure that your partner/spouse can tend to your finances and other matters in the event you are incapacitated
- a meeting to review all the documents to ensure you understand them.
- secure document storage of all your documents
In most cases, a full estate plan can be completed within 2-3 weeks of the initial consultation and, if necessary, faster.
Visit our Estate Planning page, or contact us today at (952) 955-7623 to learn how we can protect your loved ones and give you peace of mind!