Estate planning basics for LGBTQ+ couples

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Estate Planning |

For nontraditional couples, estate planning can be somewhat different. LGBTQ+ couples and heterosexual couples who don’t marry should be aware of the tax ramifications and other issues that can crop up during estate planning.

Below is some pertinent information about the estate-planning documents that are vital for all nontraditional couples to have.

Assure your needs are met

Lacking a legal spouse, in the event of your incapacity, your next of kin is the one who makes the decisions regarding your end-of-life care and financial affairs. The decisions they make might not necessarily be in line with your intentions.

But by taking the time now to draw up some basic estate-planning documents like the ones described below, you can have peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out:

  • Legal power of attorney – You can designate your life partner or another individual to serve as your power of attorney if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
  • Living will – What type of care do you want at the end of your life? Do you want all extra measures taken to extend your life, or do you want “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders in place? Your living will can be quite specific.
  • Advanced health care directive – Someone who might be an excellent steward of your financial affairs might crumple when tasked with making health care decisions when you can’t make them yourself. Choose the right person and have the tough conversations now.
  • Simple will – Many people don’t need more than a will to address the legacies they leave to family members and friends. For less complex estates, a will could be sufficient.

The above four are the absolute minimum estate-planning documents all California adults need to have regardless of their marital status. But for those in the LGBTQ+ community, they can save loved ones much unnecessary heartache at an already traumatic time.