Recent changes in how the courts view some civil rights protections have some experts urging LGBTQ families to revisit their estate plans. Though the landmark 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, if the courts were to reinterpret that ruling following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, LGBTQ families in states that previously made same-sex unions illegal could face legal challenges.
What estate planning steps should LGBTQ families take?
One of the advantages of establishing a will and other estate planning documentation is that it allows you to specify what happens to your probate assets when you die. This removes the need to rely on state and federal law which may be very important for married couples who face uncertainties due to the possibility of the state no longer recognizing their marriages. Additionally, LGBTQ couples may want to take steps to avoid the probate process, such as utilizing living trusts, joint ownership of property and other tools.
Children and Medical Decisions
In addition to protecting your assets, your estate plan should specify who gets custody of any minor children you have and who has the power to make medical decisions if you become unable to make them for yourself. You may also want to establish a durable power of attorney, which is naming a person to assist in managing your finances (presently as well as if you were to become incapacitated).
Estate planning is important for all Florida families. Few people desire to leave their affairs in the hands of state law, which can change. LGBTQ families need to ensure that their spouses, partners, children and other loved ones are legally protected even if same-sex marriages become illegal or not recognized in the state.