Why Same-Sex Couples Need Estate Planning
Asset Protection and Inheritance Rights
The primary document in an estate plan for same-sex couples is a will. This legal instrument dictates your wishes and inheritance rights for your estate. A will protects your assets and guarantees your partner’s right to inherit the life that you have built together after you are gone. If you pass away without a will, your estate is distributed according to Florida intestacy laws, and depending on the number of family members that stand to inherit under these rules, your partner could ultimately receive only a fraction, or even nothing, from your estate. If you are married, that portion could still be reduced to half or even less of the overall estate without a will and estate plan. A will protects your assets for your partner and guarantees his, her or their right to inherit your estate.
Power of Attorney
Another important tool in an estate plan is a power of attorney form. This document designates your partner as your attorney-in-fact to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. By designating your partner as your attorney-in-fact, you protect your loved one’s right to continue to make decisions that are best for you. If you and your partner are not married, someone else could be designated by the court to make all legal and financial decisions for you that would not be required to get permission from your partner before doing so.
Living Will, Healthcare Surrogate and Preened Guardian Protection
Finally, an estate plan can also include a living will, healthcare surrogate and preened guardian forms. These documents dictate your wishes for medical care and can appoint your partner as a healthcare surrogate to make these decisions for you in situations where you cannot communicate them yourself. A living will informs healthcare professionals what procedures, medications, and other healthcare decisions you do and do not approve of. If you lack a living will, your designated healthcare surrogate will make the decisions he, she or they believes are in your best interest for your care. By designating your partner as your surrogate, you ensure that your loved one maintains control over your health and well-being.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
With same-sex marriage now legal in the United States, domestic partners now have financial and legal protections that were previously denied them in Florida. However, in order to fully benefit under the law, it is important that same-sex couples create estate plans with their partners in mind. Drafting a comprehensive estate plan ensures that your loved one is taken care of and your final wishes adhered to after your passing. To learn more about the benefits of estate planning as a same-sex couple in Florida, call or contact The Soto Law Office in Altamonte Springs today to schedule a consultation.
If you would like to speak with an experienced legal professional about creating an estate plan with your same-sex partner, call the office or contact us now at The Soto Law Office in Altamonte Springs today to schedule a consultation of your estate planning needs today.