LGBT individuals have long faced an uphill fight in California and throughout the United States to have their relationships and their gender identities recognized. While attitudes and laws have shifted nationwide to provide more legal protections, you still need to make sure you understand the law and its limitations. One area where this is especially important is in the field of estate planning.
Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law provides assistance with LGBT estate planning to individuals and to couples throughout Sacramento, Roseville, Davis, and nearby locations. We will help you to define your goals for your financial future, the end of your life, the protection of your assets, and the care of those you love. Using legal tools like wills, trusts, advanced directives, and powers of attorney, we will help ensure you and those who matter to you are protected no matter what happens in the future. For personalized advice, give us a call at 916-437-3500. We can also provide answers to your questions about LGBT planning including:
- Why do I need an estate plan?
- What is involved in LGBT estate planning?
- How can a Northern California LGBT estate planning lawyer help me?
Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?
The importance of having an estate plan cannot be understated, although the reasons for creating a plan are varied. The specific steps you should take and things you should include in your estate plan are going to be different based on your family situation, your relationship status, your assets, and your goals for the future.
If you are a transgender person, for example, you may be concerned about whether family members will remember you with your true gender identity rather than the identity you were born with. There have been cases where people who are transgender have passed away and parents or other family members who were not supportive ended up planning funerals, memorial services, and headstones which used a birth name and gender rather than the correct name and gender.
If you are involved in a relationship with a same-sex partner, or you have children with a partner who you are raising but who you have not formally adopted, you may also have issues to address in terms of making sure your partner is provided for and your children are secure no matter what happens to either of you.
Whether you are married or not is going to make a big impact in the planning that you need to do, but it makes sense to find out what your options are in any situation so you can protect yourself and those you love.
What is Involved in LGBT Estate Planning?
The LGBT estate planning process has been made easier for lesbian and homosexual couples who take advantage of the right to marry and who wish to leave property to their spouses. Even for married couples, however, you may have non-biological children who you are raising but have not adopted; you may have separate property owned before marriage; or you may have retirement planning issues because you are not able to qualify for benefits under your spouse’s work record since the law did not recognize your marriage until recently.
You can address these and many more issues with a comprehensive estate plan. Your plan can include:
- A power of attorney to declare who should manage assets in case of incapacity.
- An advanced healthcare plan to determine what care you receive and who makes care decisions for you if you can’t.
- Trusts to facilitate asset transfer.
- A plan for guardianship of children in case one or both partners die.
- A last will and testament to transfer assets.
- An advanced plan for a pre-paid funeral.
These are just some of the many different components of a comprehensive estate plan that you may wish to consider to protect yourself and your loved ones, regardless of your gender, sexuality, or marital status.
How Can a Northern California LGBT Estate Planning Lawyer Help Me?
Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law has been helping clients with LGBT estate planning in Sacramento, Roseville, Davis and surrounding areas for a long time. Even before the legalization of gay marriage, we have helped LGBT individuals to build strong families, to protect their legal futures, and to make sure their assets and loved ones were cared for.
We are proud of the progress made in the field of LGBT rights and we are here now to help make sure you make all available laws work for you. Give us a call today at 916-437-3500 or contact us online to speak with a Northern California LGBT planning lawyer to learn more about how we can help you.