Important Estate Planning Tips for Same-Sex Couples

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Q: Is Your Marriage Still Safe

If you are confused about your same-sex marital status and rights, you are in good company. And if you aren’t, then maybe you should be. All those in a committed relationship now– and especially those who were previously married– may benefit from counsel of an estate planning attorney uniquely qualified in helping the LGBT community.

After decades of progress– – during which some states chose to recognize same-sex marriages– the hard-fought constitutional right to marriage equality was finally won with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges. 

But, under the current administration, many states are trying to chip away at the marital rights of same-sex spouses. 

LGBT help with estate planning should begin with confirming your true marital status and then continue with an arsenal of documents that will protect your rights and the future you hope to provide for your partner, your children, and others in the event you become disabled or die.

Sadly, LGBT couples in particular need the proper legal documentation to withstand challenges from often-estranged family members who may try to “step in” and take over at the time disability or death strikes.

In addition to a will and/or trusts which dispose of your assets at the time of your death, documents such as a power of attorney can give the power to a designated agent to handle your affairs while you are still alive, if you become unable to do so. Further, appointing a health-care surrogate or healthcare proxy allows you to choose the person who will have the legal authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Another important document in your estate plan is a living will, which documents your preferences about medical treatment you do– or do not– wish to have in the event you become incapacitated, unconscious, and/or disabled, such as “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders.

Finally, an estate planning attorney can advise you on what if any action – – including adoption – – may be necessary to ensure that your assets will pass to your children, depending on the state you live in and who is legally recognized as the child’s parent.

If you have questions about the legal status of a prior or current same-sex marriage, or need help preparing the most rock-solid LGBT estate plan that will provide for your loved ones, Unique Estate Law is here to help you. Call 952-260-2043 for a free 15-minute consultation.

With offices in Bloomington in Minneapolis, we represent clients throughout Minnesota, including Edina, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.