Obergefell v. Hodges made LGBTQ estate planning easier for some married gay and lesbian couples, but this landmark decision legalizing gay marriage did not end the need for estate planning. If you are a homosexual or transgender individual, you may face more complex legal issues than straight, cisgendered people who are making an estate plan… but everyone needs an estate plan regardless of their sexuality or gender.
Thompson Law, PLLC can help you to use legal tools to make a smart plan and to ensure you address the special issues that affect you and your family.
LGBTQ estate planning can involve many different things, depending upon factors like your marital status, whether you have children, and your family’s support and acceptance. Thompson Law, PLLC can provide personalized advice appropriate to your own unique situation. Give us a call to find out how an LGBTQ estate planning lawyer in Sioux Falls can help you and to get answers to questions you have about the estate planning process including:
- Why is LGBTQ estate planning important?
- What should be part of your estate plan?
- How can a Sioux Falls LGBTQ estate planning lawyer help?
Why is LGBTQ Estate Planning Important?
For anyone, regardless of gender, estate planning is important to make a retirement plan, to plan in case of incapacity, to provide for kids and other loved ones, and to ensure your wishes are respected at the end of your life and after your death.
For LGBTQ individuals, there may be additional obstacles or challenges to making certain you and your family are secure and your wishes are respected. The challenges that you face are going to be specific to your situation.
For example, people with supportive family members may have less worries about their future… but if you have parents or other close relatives who have issues with your gender, sexuality, or romantic partner, you will need to make certain you make an even stronger plan. You don’t want your family to question your will, or to plan a funeral that uses the wrong name and pronouns, and you can use your estate plan to help ensure that these things do not happen.
What Should be Part of your Estate Plan?
Your estate plan should be customized to address the issues that matter most to you and your loved ones. Some of the different things that should be a part of your plan could include:
- Retirement planning through the use of IRAs. If your marriage was delayed because the law did not recognize it until Obergefell v. Hodges, you may not be entitled to Social Security under your spouse’s earning record as early as you might otherwise be entitled to such benefits. You need to ensure you can create retirement security through your savings.
- A last will and testament. You can provide instructions for your funeral and memorial, in addition to specifying what should happen to assets. This is important, as there have been cases where the families of transgender individuals have denied their true gender after death.
- Trusts serve many purposes, including asset protection. A trust can be useful if you are worried your family may contest an inheritance you leave to a romantic partner, as trusts are harder to contest.
- Joint ownership and pay on death accounts: Both of these options can also help ensure an inheritance transfers quickly and easily to your chosen beneficiary so you do not have to worry about your family contesting your wishes.
- Guardianship plans: If you have children who belong biologically to only one partner but who two partners are raising, adoption can be the best way to protect both the parents’ rights and the rights of the children. If the kids are not adopted, however, guardianship instructions are vital to make certain that the kids will be raised by the non-biological parent in case of a death or in case of incapacity.
- Power of attorney: You can use a power of attorney to select who you want to control assets. This is of vital importance if you are not married and want to determine who makes decisions for you.
- Advanced directives for healthcare and nursing home care planning: This can be important especially for transgender individuals who sometimes face difficulties when it comes to finding doctors and care providers.
There may also be many other things which you should include in your estate plan. Because the estate planning process can be complicated and involves addressing many important issues, you should get legal help from a trusted legal advisor with experience in LGBTQ estate planning.
How can a Sioux Falls LGBTQ Estate Planning Lawyer Help?
Thompson Law, PLLC has been helping with LGBTQ estate planning since before Obergefell v. Hodges and we understand how to make the law work for you to provide you with the protections for your future and family that you deserve. Give us a call at 605-362-9100 or contact us online to find out how our Sioux Falls LGBTQ estate planning attorneys can help you.