LGBT Estate Planning: Securing Your Legacy with Inclusive Strategies

June 24, 2024

LGBT Estate Planning

If you are planning to avoid any disputes related to real estate divination after your demise between your children, then you might want to consider estate planning. Estate planning will help any individual with any identity and gender navigate the division of their assets post their demise. Let’s understand about LGBT Estate Planning.

Through estate planning you can ensure proper distribution of your real estate among your family. In this article we focus on LGBT estate planning that helps the LGBT community members navigate the legal challenges surrounding their asset distribution.

LGBT Estate Planning

LGBT Estate Planning

If you are part of the LGBT community then this article is crucial for you. You will find potential legal challenges regarding protection of your asset and its distribution among your family. Your plan needs to be strategic and carefully consider your options to protect your rights and assets. You cannot navigate the unique legal landscapes without drafting an estate plan and an experienced lawyer in this field. 

These are different state laws and regulations which impact you, your partner and your children, when it comes to estate distribution. When you have not planned your asset distribution, your estate ownership is also challenged,

All these can be avoided when your estate plan is drafted in proper documentation like wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives. These legal tools help you assert your control over your financial affairs, medical decisions, and your minor children guardianship. By being proactive and precise, we can provide security and clarity for our loved ones.

Our goal in estate planning goes beyond asset distribution. It is about ensuring dignity, respect, and fairness for our relationships and legacy. Tailoring our estate plans to fit your unique situations, we work towards safeguarding our rights and those of our partners or spouses, children, and chosen family. 

We strive to create a comprehensive estate plan that reflects our values and wishes, prepared for any challenge the future may hold. Learn more about domestic violence lawyer.

Understanding Estate Planning for LGBT Couples

Understanding Estate Planning for LGBT Couples

We keep up with current laws that affect same-sex couples and strive to create the most robust legal documents. These documents help protect your rights and ensure you will be abided after your demise as well. 

Our LGBT estate planning ensures that your unique requirements and situations are considered to plan it. So, let’s explain how LGBT estate planning helps you navigate the legal landscape of asset ownership and distribution.

The legal environment for LGBT estate planning has improved significantly since the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges has changed the LGBT estate planning. The judgment offered same-sex couples to marry and impacted LGBT estate planning.

Although there are gaps in this provision of LGBT estate planning in the legal environment especially, if you are unmarried. If you are in a domestic partnership, you might also face challenges regarding estate management. Before this decision several LGBT couples faced legal challenges under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Here are some examples for you to make you aware of the previous situation before the Supreme Court pass the judgment of 2015.

  • Recognized Unions: Depending on the state, the union of a couple could be recognized differently, as either a domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage, each carrying varying degrees of rights and legal protections.
  • Property Rights: Previously if you died without a will your assets would not automatically transfer to your partner. On the other hand, with opposite sex couples assets would automatically go to their partner due to lack of legal recognition.
  • Healthcare Decisions: Your partner or you would be excluded from making medical decisions for each other without explicit legal directives.

But times have changed as more LGBT couples are learning to understand the current laws in their state. This knowledge is helping them understand how federal law applies to their estate planning needs and plan their asset distribution. 

Critical Estate Planning Documents

All your estate should be legally documented to ensure your wishes are honored after your demise. For LGBT couples, certain documents become even more critical to assert rights that might otherwise be overlooked due to varying state laws or family disputes. 

So, how do you ensure your assets go to the right person after your death? Which documents ensure your wishes are honored after your demise? We emphasize the following documents that help you secure your estate to your partner or family members.

1. Last Will and Testament:

First document you should ensure you have is the last will and testament. This document holds your wish on how your assets are to be distributed among your family.

You can also mention the choice of guardians for your minor children in your last will and testament.

2. Revocable Living Trust:

You ensure your estate is managed smoothly after death and distributed with a revocable living trust document. Thus, this document helps keep your estate out of probate.

3. Financial Power of Attorney

With this document you designate someone to manage your financial affairs. Since life is unpredictable you can secure who manages your finances through this document. 

You can give your trusted family member to manage your finances when you become incapacitated to look after your finances.

4. Healthcare Proxy/Directive

You can appoint someone who you trust to make your healthcare decisions and outlines wishes for end-of-life care. 

When you create the necessary documents that provide you legal protections in managing your estate, then you secure your wishes. You ensure that your assets remain with your loved ones and they make medical decisions for you.

If you are unmarried or in domestic partnership then these documents also ensure your rights to your partner’s assets. Therefore, when you are LGBT estate planning ensures you document it properly.

This ensures your wishes are abided after your death or when you become incapacitated. You start to safeguard your future and assets when you are updated about the legal changes and understand how they impact estate planning.

Building a Comprehensive LGBT Estate Plan

Building a Comprehensive LGBT Estate Plan

Its essential for you to do estate planning to ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are protected. We’ll discuss marriage and partnership recognition, protecting children, financial strategies, and the importance of healthcare decision-making.

Marriage, Partnerships, and Estate Planning

Recognizing the federal legalization of same-sex marriage, it’s important we understand how marriage or partnerships impact estate planning. For married LGBT couples, it’s advantageous to draft a will and set up trusts as they can offer significant protection and benefits.

After your death generally your assets are transferred to your surviving spouse without incurring any estate taxes. This transfer is known as the marital deduction. In some cases, portability allows a surviving spouse to use a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion.

Those unmarried should consider drafting a cohabitation agreement to outline the disposition of property and financial responsibilities. A durable power of attorney and a healthcare directive are crucial documents that allow partners to make decisions on each other’s behalf.

Planning for Children and Guardianship

LGBT couples with children must pay special attention to establish legal parentage, which can vary greatly by state. Second-parent adoption ensures both parents have rights, regardless of marital status. Our estate plan should name guardians to care for minor children if we can’t, and the creation of trusts can protect the children’s financial future. For those considering children, include provisions in your estate plan for potential future offspring.

Financial Considerations and Tax Implications

We must consider how to best protect our assets and minimize the tax burden. Regardless of marital status, we should create an estate plan that includes a revocable living trust to maintain control over assets while providing clear guidelines for their distribution after death.

A financial power of attorney allows a chosen individual to manage our financial affairs. You need to stay informed about IRS regulations that may influence how your finances are taxed and transferred. Same-sex couples can benefit from the gift tax exclusion to give gifts to each other without tax implications.

End-of-Life Decisions and Healthcare Directives

End-of-life planning is vital for all couples. We must make sure to have an advance healthcare directive and a living will that articulate our wishes regarding medical treatment should we become unable to make those decisions for ourselves. It’s also wise to have a healthcare power of attorney to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on our behalf. Furthermore, the inclusion of HIPAA authorization allows our healthcare agent to access our medical records if necessary.


You must regularly update these documents so they reflect your current wishes. Your personal and medical decisions are maintained when you have autonomy over your document.Consulting with a LGBT estate planning attorney experienced in LGBT family law can offer tailored advice and ensure all documents comply with current legislation.

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Mony Shah

With an adept skill of curating content on multiple genres, Mony has harnessed success as a Content Writer quickly. Find her sharing profound thoughts and opinions on finance, insurance and lifestyle niches.

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