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Palm Springs Law Blog

Monday, August 12, 2019

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

You can create an estate plan for you and your significant other – regardless of whether or not you are legally married. This applies not only to heterosexual couples but for gay couples as well.  The good news is that estate planning for same-sex couples doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult to understand. Since the law continues to evolve, it is important to consult with a California estate planning attorney who has experience in estate planning for the LGBTQ community

Plan Proactively

In 2015, the United States Supreme Court upheld the rights of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. Now that all states recognize these rights, married same-sex couples are now eligible for the same tax breaks as opposite-sex married couples. 

Many people avoid creating an estate plan for many reasons, one of which has to do with acknowledging our own mortality. Estate planning is best done proactively – before you actually need it – and not reactively, when you find yourself in the midst of a situation. Regardless of sexual orientation, couples who are not married and who do not create an estate plan often leave nothing to their partner when they pass intestate (without a legal will).

Furthermore, without the correct estate planning documents, your partner will be unable to make decisions regarding your medical care, access your health records, or even gain access to your benefits when you pass. 

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

Ordinarily, without a properly drafted will, property automatically passes to certain heirs of the estate (e.g. children if they have any). Property of those not married at the time of their passing, will not automatically pass to their partner. It can also prove difficult for partners to establish standing for the purpose of opening a probate estate.

In other words, if you are in a same-sex relationship and are not married, you must plan – even minimally – if you would like your partner to receive any property or benefits when you pass. You should also be sure to designate someone in charge of making medical decisions for you if you should become legally incapacitated. Basic estate planning documents include:

  • A Last Will and Testament
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Revocable Living Trust

Heritage Legal, PC Helps Create Estate Plans for Same-Sex Couples in California 

Comprehensive estate planning requires an in depth understanding of the law. Since it can prove complex, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney in California who has experience working with individuals in the LGBTQ community. At Heritage Legal, PC we will explain each aspect of your estate plan to ensure that you and your loved ones will be protected. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 760-325-2020 today!

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