Estate planning is a necessary undertaking for any couple. Each couple has unique circumstances that require different considerations. Finances, family dynamics and personal goals may impact how you plan your estate.
As a same-sex couple, your sexual orientation or gender identity may make the estate planning process even more unique. Here are some essential estate planning tips for LGBT couples.
Start with the basics
Of course, the foundation of any solid estate plan is a will. If you do not have one already, make one as soon as possible. By creating a will, you can make decisions regarding dividing assets for heirs, assigning a guardian for your children and appointing a personal representative for your estate. Creating a will helps you avoid intestate succession, which can be costly and complex.
Consider medical needs
Your estate plan can determine a lot more than just what happens to your belongings when you die. You can also spell out your wishes in the event you become unable to make health care decisions on your own. If you ever develop an illness or suffer an injury that incapacitates you, your loved ones may not know what to do. By establishing a health care power of attorney, you can make your medical desires clear.
Use beneficiary designations
Chances are that you want your partner to receive most of your assets, especially those from the following policies and accounts:
- Life insurance
These are known as payable or transfer on death accounts. By naming a beneficiary, you can bypass probate and directly pay the beneficiary when you die. Make sure you review your beneficiary designations regularly to ensure your surviving partner gets what you want.
Avoid DIY services
Do not make the mistake of winging your estate plan. Doing so may put you at risk of having invalid or inaccurate documents.