Estate planning is critical for everyone–single, married, straight and LGBTQ+. Having said that, a professional estate plan for LGBTQ+ individuals provides protection for you and your loved ones. Since the United State Supreme Court nationally legalized same-sex couples to marry in 2015, estate planning for LGBTQ+ has become more important than ever.

While major strides for same sex couple’s rights have been made in recent years, estate planning law is still written with hetero, cisgender couples in mind. This estate planning challenge means that your wishes and your rights may not be respected when you die or if you become incapacitated.

If a member of the LGBTQ+ community fails to have a bona fide estate plan or living trust, the consequences can be dire to their family members. The need for an estate plan is vital in case of an unforeseen circumstance that leaves a partner incapable of managing his or her affairs. Without a proper after-life plan, the other same sex partner could be barred from having any role in the decision-making of his or her partner’s care or estate plan. Even if you are married, planning is critical in the event you encounter resistance in recognizing your marital rights.

Most traditional estate planning lawyers aren’t well equipped to serve LGBTQ+ families. Although same-gender relationships are recognized now more than ever, creating effective estate plans for LGBTQ+ clients is still challenging. For traditional lawyers who are in their 30th year of practice, new changes in same-sex estate planning are still fairly foreign.

The same is true for many LGBTQ+ families. In addition to same-gender marriage being relatively new, many LGBTQ+ families haven’t pursued estate planning due to a lack of knowledge about its importance or its availability to them. After all, only 30% of American adults have an estate plan, (yikes!), and only a small portion of that 30% are in a LGBTQ+ relationship.

If you’re in an LGBTQ+ relationship in Los Angeles metropolitan area, you know that family isn’t just about bloodlines – it’s also about your chosen family and the bond and love you share for each other. And if you have children, you know that ensuring their well-being and protection is of the utmost importance.

If something happens to you, it’s crucial to have an estate plan in place that addresses who will be your children’s legal guardian. This is especially true if the children in your family aren’t biologically related to one of the parents, such as children born to same-sex parents who aren’t married. Not only can these situations create some unique legal planning, but LGBTQ+ parents may also face resistance. Some of the opposition can be from family members who may not support children living with an LGBTQ+ guardian, whether you and your partner are married or not. Similarly, if your family is resistant to certain lifestyle or choices. An example is gender fluidity in how you raise your child or the topics you discuss within your LGBTQ+ family. It’s incredibly important to name guardians who align with your beliefs and who will honor your wishes after you pass.

To avoid potential disputes and ensure the continuity of care for your children, it’s essential to designate legal guardians in your estate plan. By doing so, you can legally establish who you want to care for your children regardless of the guardian’s relationship to your children or their sexual orientation. By documenting who you would want to raise your children clearly and legally, you help ensure that your children will always be raised by the people you choose and the people your children love. Otherwise, you leave space for relatives who do not agree with your beliefs to try to take over the position of guardian. They may end up raising your children in a way you would not agree with – possibly even keeping them away from the other parent figures in their life.

Finding a lawyer in Covina CA who truly understands your unique LGBTQ+ estate plan situation is crucial. This will help in making sure your loved ones are taken care of by people who love and respect them, regardless of biology or sexual orientation. You deserve a plan that celebrates your love, family, and future. To learn more about how I serve LGBTQ+ families differently, please contact our offices.

Related Info – Estate Planning for LGBTQ+

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