LGBT Estate Planning Lawyer

The community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals, commonly referred to as the LGBT community are no strangers to facing difficulties that heterosexual people never even have to think about. Unfortunately, estate planning and disability planning are areas where LGBT individuals face treatment that is substantially less favorable than what heterosexual people can expect to find. This makes it even more important for an LGBT person to speak with an experienced attorney when making arrangements for disability or death.

Many states are slowly changing their laws regarding the LGBT community, and eventually the day may come when it is no more difficult for a gay couple to write their wills than for a heterosexual couple, but that is not yet the case. Even if you live in a state that recognizes gay marriage, you would be wise to speak with an estate planning lawyer to make sure that you are protected, for a number of reasons.

Even though the Federal Government now recognizes same-sex marriages, many other states do not recognize those marriages. This means that any property in that state, or anything that happens in that state, will not be protected by the rights an LGBT couple might expect to enjoy once they have married. To illustrate, imagine that a gay couple marry in one state, one of them owns a great deal of property in another state which does not recognize gay marriage. When that LGBT person dies, their property in the other state does not automatically pass to the surviving spouse, as it usually would for married couples. Because the other state does not recognize the marriage, the couple are treated as legal strangers, and the property would go to the deceased person’s surviving family, regardless of the deceased person’s wishes.

Finally, we have all heard the horror stories of LGBT couples that travel to States that do not recognize gay marriage and then one of them is hurt or falls ill and the hospitals deny the other spouse visitation rights because they are not considered a legal couple there.

The good news is that there are ways to deal with nearly every situation that you can think of, it is just important to do it before that situation actually comes up. A lawyer can help you form a community property agreement that will ensure that your property goes to your spouse if something happens to you, regardless of where that property may be or what the law in that state is regarding gay marriage. Lastly a lawyer knowledgeable in disability planning and estate planning can help you create durable powers of attorney that will ensure that if anything happens to you or your spouse, they will be able to visit you, and they will be able to make the decisions for you that you wish.

Contact us today to discuss your case.

Phone: 206-331-7377

Fax: 206-486-9930