Estate planning is important for all families in Mobile. A well-rounded estate plan can allow you to pass your assets on to your chosen heirs, can outline what end-of-life care you wish to receive and can dictate who is to make medical decisions and handle your finances if you become incapacitated. LGBTQ+ couples sometimes face different estate planning issues than heterosexual couples face, especially if they are not married or have children.
ESTATE PLANNING FOR LGBTQ+ PARENTS
An LGBTQ+ couple may have a child together, but oftentimes only one parent is biologically related to the child if the child was conceived using an egg or sperm donor or if the child was conceived through surrogacy. Even if both parents are actively involved in the child’s life, from a legal perspective only the child’s biological parent has rights to the child unless there is a court order establishing the non-biological parent as the child’s parent for legal purposes. This is important when it comes to inheritance and guardianship laws in the absence of an estate plan.
WILLS FOR LGBTQ+ COUPLES
Sometimes an LGBTQ+ couple has been in a committed relationship for many years but never got married. Unfortunately, absent a will unmarried LGBTQ+ partners are not entitled to an inheritance per the laws of intestate succession when one partner passes away. In a will, the couple can outline who they want to inherit their assets upon their death and couples can name a guardian of any minor children.
POWER OF ATTORNEY AND A LIVING WILL
A medical power of attorney allows you to make medical decisions on your partner’s behalf should they become incapacitated, and a financial power of attorney allows you to manage your partner’s finances should they become incapacitated. A living will outlines what end-of-life care you want. Absent these documents, unmarried LGBTQ+ couples may be barred from making these important decisions on their partner’s behalf.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING FOR LGBTQ+ COUPLES
As this shows, estate planning for LGBTQ+ couples can be legally complex. A boilerplate do-it-yourself estate plan may not be legally enforceable. It is important to seek help when developing an estate plan in Alabama. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on estate planning may be a good resource for those who want more information on this topic.