Anyone who wishes to protect their assets, interests and loved ones after their death should look into proper estate planning methods. Since Florida recognizes both heterosexual and same-sex marriages equally, the estate planning process for all spouses looks similar. However, those in unmarried partnerships can find themselves vulnerable without adequate preparation.
For LGBTQ couples who have not tied the knot, a few estate planning steps taken now can help prevent a messy probate experience later on and circumvent the qualms of unsupportive family members.
Document decisions for end-of-life care
Preparing for end-of-life care or incapacitation allows couples to assert their own wishes and avoid the demands of their families of origin, who may be unsupportive of the relationship. Key documents for difficult medical situations and end-of-life care include HIPAA authorization forms, health care power of attorney, living wills and durable financial power of attorney. Without such documents, the partner may not have a say in the financial or health care decisions for an incapacitated or dying loved one.
Establish a plan to protect children
A unique set of estate concerns arises when unmarried same-sex couples have children. Without a will, the court determines what is in the best interest of the children, and the court may not choose to appoint the decedent’s partner as the children’s guardian. Thus, the parents should aim to explicitly identify their children throughout all estate planning documents.
Children of same-sex couples may only have blood ties to one or none of their parents. As a result, many individuals consider second-parent adoptions to ensure guardianship and the passage of assets to their children.
Unmarried LGBTQ couples can take control of their future by building the right estate plan for their unique needs.