Because of the Supreme Court decision that granted marriage equality, the estate planning process can be much less fraught for same-sex couples who choose to marry. Marriage grants a surviving spouse certain rights by default when the other passes away. The probate process is identical, and estate planning documents receive the same handling.
However, just because you and your partner can marry does not mean that it is the best option for you. The Obergefell decision now gives you the same right to decide whether or not to get married that different-sex couples have. However, if you do not marry, estate planning can be much more complex. To secure the rights of your same-sex partner in the event that you pass away, here are some estate planning documents you should prioritize.
1. Burial cremation affidavits
Estate planning allows you to choose the disposition of your body after you die. If you decide on cremation, a burial cremation affidavit gives your partner the right to your cremains, i.e, the ashes, if this is what you wish.
2. Hospital visitation authorization
Hospitals may have policies restricting visitation to family members only. Such policies include spouses but not unmarried partners. A hospital visitation authorization grants your partner the right to visit you in the event of your hospitalization.
3. Asset retitling
You can retitle assets to add your partner’s name so that you and your partner own them jointly. This way, in the event that you die, your partner automatically takes full possession of the property. This is a way of ensuring that your partner inherits from you without having to go through the probate process.