Estate planning allows you to decide exactly what you would like done with your assets when you pass. Typically, estate planning will include the creation of documents that clearly define your wishes following death. Taking time to make these plans can also help to minimize disagreement and quarreling after your passing and can help in keeping proceedings civil.
It is important for LGBTQ individuals, and especially couples, to create solid estate plans. Having an estate plan is the surest way to honor the wishes of a loved one following his or her death.
What Should an Estate Plan Include
An estate plan may include several documents. Among the most important are:
- A Will to determine what should be done with your assets following your passing
- A Living Will to establish what should be done in case you become medically unresponsive and/or on artificial nourishment
- Powers of Attorney for Finances and Healthcare to empower your partner to act on your behalf in legal, financial, and medical matters
Your estate plan may also include final arrangements such as your wish for burial or cremation, casket, headstone, resting place, and funeral services, as well as any other documents deemed necessary by your attorney.
Individuals in LGBTQ relationships may wish to grant their partners power of attorney and authorization for advanced medical directives. It is not safe to assume these things will work out to the benefit of your partner in the absence of an estate plan. Having a plan is the best way to protect your partner, your assets, and your wishes.
Leventhal Lewis proudly affirms and helps the LGBTQ community put in place smart and solid estate plans. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more.
Retirement Benefits, Life Insurance, and Other Considerations
You can add a beneficiary to your social security benefits, 401k, and other retirement programs. Married LGBTQ couples may designate the spouse for any of these. It is always a good idea to review your designated beneficiary every so often to make sure the information is current.
If you have been married before or if you have children from a previous relationship, it is important to review life insurance and other documents to make sure the benefits are going where you would like. It is helpful to have an estate planning attorney assist with this to help ensure you do not overlook any important details.
Common Law in Colorado
Colorado is one of 12 states to acknowledge common law marriage. This means that, even if you have not undergone a ceremony or signed a license, if you consider yourself a married couple, hold yourselves out as a married couple, and reside together, you are legally a married couple. This law applies to LGBTQ couples.
Common law marriage can further complicate who is and is not eligible for certain benefits. During your initial consultation, we will ask pertinent questions to ensure we are getting all of the information we need to provide you with the best estate planning service possible.
To schedule your initial consultation, please call 719-694-3000. We serve Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, Castle Rock, and all surrounding areas of Colorado.