LGBT Estate Planning Services
If you are a member of the LGBT community you already know that same-sex couples face very specific challenges when it comes to legal issues in general. Estate planning is no exception. Though the law has come a long way over the last several decades toward recognizing LGBT rights and equality, there is still a long way to go. As a member of the LGBT community it is even more important for you to create a comprehensive estate plan to ensure that your spouse/partner is provided for and your wishes are honored.
Why Estate Planning Is So Important for an LGBT Couple
Until the historical decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, in U.S. v. Windsor (2013), federal law defined marriage as “between a man and a woman”. This definition prevented same-sex married couples from enjoying over 1,000 federal benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoyed as a result of their marital status. The landmark decision in Windsor means that married same-sex couples now enjoy equality in the eyes of the U.S. federal government. It also means that a couple who created an estate plan based on the pre-Windsor world likely needs to completely revise the plan.
Although Windsor drastically altered estate planning issues at the federal level for members of the LGBT community, state laws relating to same-sex marriage remain an important reason to create a comprehensive estate plan. Oregon does not allow same sex marriage; however, it does offer a domestic partnership option for same-sex couples. At the present time (September 2013), only 13 states and the D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage. A same-sex couple living in a state that does not allow, or recognize, same-sex marriage can use estate planning strategies to accomplish important goals such as:
- protect assets by using the proper form of joint title
- ensure equal rights to minor children
- grant your spouse/partner the legal right to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them
- appoint your spouse/partner as a trustee and/or agent to ensure that he/she will control your finances and assets if you become incapacitated
The estate planning attorneys at Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider, LLC understand the estate planning issues faced by members of the LGBT community. More importantly, we are dedicated to helping you create a plan that will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing both you and your spouse/partner are protected now and in the future. Contact us today by calling 503-241-1215 or through our online contact form so that we can begin working on your plan.