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Common Issues in LGBTQ Estate Planning

November 9, 2020 CSBB Blog

While marriage equality is now the law of the land, LGBTQ couples still face unique issues that heterosexual couples do not have to consider. Whether you have not given any thought to estate planning or simply need to update your plan, a Palm Beach County LGBTQ estate planning attorney can provide you the peace of mind you need. 

Pre-Obergefell Estate Planning

For many same-sex couples, they planned for the future before they were granted marriage equality. Because they could not marry legally in many states, they entered into creative estate plans to achieve some of the same goals and protections afforded to heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, some of these strategies are less than ideal. As a result, same-sex couples who have a pre-Obergefell estate plan should review and update their plan with a Palm Beach County LGBTQ estate planning attorney to ensure that they are taking full advantage of the benefits of marriage equality. 

Unmarried Same-Sex Couples Need to Be Prepared

Studies have shown that same-sex couples are often less likely to marry than heterosexual couples and are even less likely to have an estate plan. If you are in a committed relationship, you should understand what will happen if you die without a will or trust in place. Your assets will be distributed according to Florida’s intestacy laws, which means that your partner will not stand to inherit any of your assets. If you are in a committed relationship, you should meet with a Palm Beach County LGBTQ estate planning attorney to make sure your partner inherits your assets according to your wishes. 

Understanding the Unlimited Marital Exemption

While marriage is so much more than a financial decision, it is important to recognize one of the principal benefits of the Obergefell decision – same-sex couples now qualify for the marriage exemption afforded to heterosexual couples. Under the marital exemption, one spouse can transfer any amount of assets upon their death to the other spouse without triggering the estate tax. This is a tremendous financial benefit that is now available to married same-sex couples. It is also one instance where a pre-Obergefell estate plan may not take full advantage of marriage equality.

Consider Your Children

LGBTQ couples have unique concerns when it comes to providing for their children. Form estate documents that simply speak in terms of “heirs” or “offspring” will not be sufficient. Your estate documents need to specifically identify your children by name, or you or your partner will risk custody issues after your death. 

If you or your partner is the biological parent of one or more of your children, you should consider adoption for the non-biological parent. It is one of the best ways to ensure that your wishes concerning your children’s custody and raising will be respected. 

Call a Palm Beach County LGBTQ Estate Planning Attorney Today

The attorneys at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun have deep roots within the LGBTQ community. We understand the challenges you face, and we have the experience and knowledge you need to overcome them. Invest in the future of your loved ones by meeting with a Palm Beach County LGBTQ estate planning attorney – call us at 800-226-1484 or complete our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.

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