You want to protect the rights and security of your same-sex loved one and have peace of mind for both of you. And the best thing you can do this is through estate planning. The LGBTQ+ community and supporters celebrate LGBT History Month every October. It recognizes the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals in achieving the same rights and privileges as other people have – including:
The Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage. But unfortunately, not all states recognize the rights of same-sex couples to marry and be recognized as family members.
Your estate plan can make your final wishes clear and legally enforceable. When working with an experienced estate planning attorney, they will guide same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals to ensure your loved ones are protected.
1. Healthcare Advance Directive
What happens if you become incapacitated and your family does not respect your same-sex relationship or marriage? Who will make your health care decisions? If you don’t have a legal spouse and don’t appoint a healthcare proxy, the courts will assign someone to make your medical decisions – and it may not be your partner. Let’s say that you are married, but your parents don’t acknowledge your spouse. Do you want your spouse to go through a legal battle at this challenging time? A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that names one person who can indefinitely make medical decisions on behalf of another.
2. Wills and Trusts
Are you in a same-sex relationship with children, a home, cars other property? What happens if a couple is not married and has no will or trust to designate beneficiaries, or a single person dies without a will? In that case, Illinois intestate laws go into effect, and the court will determine who inherits your same-sex partner’s belongings.
You can set up Wills and trusts to ensure that your assets are passed to your designated heirs, not to your parents or siblings if you die.
Parents must take extra precautions to ensure the rights of their non-biological children if something happens to them. Guardianship papers let a parent name a guardian to take custody of their child. Plus, the guardian will also provide appropriate care and manage the finances and any inherited money or property.
4. A Living Will
A living will is a document that expresses your final wishes to your healthcare providers and family as they relate to your continued healthcare and any life-sustaining measures. Whether married or unmarried this useful tool can guide your medical power of attorney.
LGBTQ+ individuals often have special estate planning needs to protect their loved ones. To talk to probate, trust and estates attorney in Chicago or Oak Brook about how to make and store your will, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.