While estate planning is essential for any family, it is especially important for LGBT couples and their loved ones. A complete estate plan can help avoid disputes, ensure that your partner is with you when you most need him, and allow you to distribute your assets to your family members in the way that you want upon your death.
Essential Documents You Need in Your Estate Plan
Unfortunately, without a comprehensive estate plan, partners in LGBT families can be shut out of important decisions, such as financial matters or medical decisions, if a spouse or partner becomes incapacitated. In addition, gay and lesbian families need additional protections to ensure that their children will be raised by their partner upon death if only one of them is the biological parent. If you are an LGBT family, here are some crucial documents that should be included in your estate plan:
- Health Care Power of Attorney. In a health care power of attorney, you can designate whom you want to make your medical decisions if you are too ill or incapacitated to make them on your own. By having this type of power of attorney, you can ensure that your partner or other family members are appointed to make these important decisions on your behalf.
- Living will. A living will allows you to state your wishes about end-of-life care, such as the use of feeding tubes and resuscitation if you are too ill to communicate them at that time. It will help your partner honor your wishes if you are terminally ill.
- HIPPA authorization. A Hippa authorization gives your doctor and other health care providers the authority to provide information regarding your medical condition and your medical records to your partner, spouse, or another person that you designate.
- Durable financial power of attorney. A durable financial power of attorney allows another person to handle your financial matters without the need to be appointed your conservator in probate court if you are unable to manage your affairs without help. You can ensure that your spouse or partner makes these decisions on your behalf by appointing him to do so in this document.
- Will and trust. In a will, you can appoint a person as your executor, designate who you want to receive your property upon your death, appoint a guardian of your minor children, and more. Depending on your financial and family situation, you may also need a revocable or irrevocable trust to avoid probate and estate taxes and to meet special family concerns during your lifetime and after you die.
If you an LGBT family in Norfolk, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you develop an estate plan that is tailor-made to meet your family’s needs. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our office to schedule a free consultation today.