There was once a time when estate planning for the LGBT community was a very particular, specialized endeavor. This was because of the fact that the federal and state laws did not recognize same-sex marriages.
At that time, if you did not have an estate plan as a married person, your surviving spouse would have certain rights. This was not a possibility for committed same-sex couples.
At the present time, same-sex marriages are legal in the state of California, and they are also being recognized on the federal level. As a result, we are all participating on a level playing field with regard to legal protections. However, this does not mean that estate planning is not important for people who are legally married, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Asset Transfer Vehicles
There are various different ways to transfer assets, and the optimal course of action will vary on a case-by-case basis. Many people assume that a last will is the only way to go, but there are a number of different trusts that could be utilized. The right choice will depend upon the unique circumstances.
You should certainly explore all of your options and make fully informed decisions when you are planning your estate.
If you have been particularly successful from a financial standpoint, you should be concerned about the potential impact of the federal estate tax. The tax carries a 40 percent maximum rate, and this is an attention-getting figure.
The estate tax is not applicable on asset transfers between spouses, so if you are legally married, you could transfer unlimited assets to your spouse tax-free. When it comes to transfers to others, there is a $5.43 million estate tax exclusion in 2015. The portion of your estate that exceeds this amount would potentially be subject to the estate tax.
There are steps that you can take to mitigate the burden if you are exposed.
Incapacity planning is another thing to take into consideration when you are looking ahead toward the future. A very significant percentage of seniors become unable to handle all of their own affairs at some point in time, with Alzheimer’s disease being the leading cause of incapacity.
You can take steps to protect yourself when you are planning your estate.
Schedule a Consultation
We are very sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community, and we would be glad to help if you have estate planning concerns. Our firm offers consultations, and we can answer all of your questions, gain an understanding of your objectives, and help you put a custom crafted plan in place if you decide to go forward.
To set up an appointment, send us a brief message through our contact page: Sacramento CA Estate Planning Attorneys.