Why is estate planning especially important for the LGBTQ community?
It has traditionally been absolutely essential because of the fact that same-sex couples in long-term committed relationships could not get legally married in the eyes of the law. There are certain inherent protections that married people enjoy that did not extend to unmarried couples.
Since the landmark Supreme Court ruling in the Edith Windsor case, gay marriages are recognized by the federal government, so the unfair dynamic no longer exists.
What are these protections?
Even if you were to die without any estate planning documents, if you are married, your spouse would receive an inheritance in accordance with the Nevada intestate succession laws. A spouse would also be able to make medical decisions on behalf of his or her incapacitated partner.
The Supreme Court case revolved around another issue that would fit into this category. Windsor was forced to pay the federal estate tax when she inherited a large sum from her partner, Thea Spyer. They were legally married in Canada, but the United States federal government did not recognize the marriage.
There is an unlimited marital estate tax deduction that allows you to transfer unlimited assets to your spouse free of the estate tax. Windsor sued because she felt as though she should be able to use the marital deduction, and eventually, she won the case.
Is a will the right asset transfer vehicle if you are not very wealthy?
In most cases, a trust will be a better choice. The revocable living trust is a very versatile estate planning tool that is ideal for a wide range of different people. You don’t have to worry about surrendering control of assets in a living trust, because you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are living.
When you establish the trust declaration, you name successors to assume these roles after you pass away. After your death, the trustee would follow the instructions and distribute assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes.
These distributions would not be subject to probate, which is a costly and time-consuming legal process. A will would be admitted to probate, so the probate avoidance factor is a major benefit, but there are others.
In addition to the living trust, there are other types of trust that can be used to satisfy a wide variety of different objectives. The right choice will depend upon the circumstances, and this is why it is important to discuss your unique situation with a licensed estate planning attorney.
Aside from asset transfers, are there any other considerations?
Yes, you should prepare for possible latter life incapacity. If you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to act as the administrator if you become unable to make sound decisions.
You could add a durable power of attorney for property to empower someone to manage assets that have not been conveyed into the trust. With a living will, you can state your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures. Another document that should be added is a durable power of attorney for health care decision-making.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Our firm is very friendly to members of the LGBTQ community, so you can rest assured that you will feel totally comfortable working with us from the start. If you would like to schedule a consultation, we can be reached by phone at 775-823-9455. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.