Estate Planning Advice for Same-Sex Couples in the Bronx
When the revolutionary designer Gianni Versace died with a gunshot wound, his live-in partner was not given any part in his state. Everything Versace owned, including his brand name, was passed down to his blood relatives, and his domestic companion got nothing out of his rightful estate — not even recognition.
This is a lesson: if you have no will or estate plan before you pass away, the state may not recognize your spouse, let alone your domestic partner, as a beneficiary. Compared to others, same-sex couples often have special situations that need proper estate planning. An estate planning attorney in the Bronx may be able to guide you in detail, but you should know your ABC’s before you walk into the lawyer’s office. Here is some advice that same-sex couples should keep in mind.
Verify Your Marital Status
Before 2015, same-sex marriages were only legal in a few states. For those who broke apart but never made the divorce legal because they moved to a different state, there could be consequences. Your marriage could still be valid, and your estate could pass on to your ex-spouse if you are not sure where you stand. In fact, some states even converted domestic partnerships into official marriages automatically. Before you start searching for estate planning in the Bronx, make sure you know your marital status.
Will or Won’tIf you are in a marriage, planning a wedding, or have kids from a previous marriage, drafting a will is essential to draft an air-tight will. But the thing is a will can limit you in ways that an estate plan doesn’t. Instead of pausing at the will, you and your better half should decide whom to name the power of attorneys.A power of attorney is a designated person who will take care of you in the event of incapacitation. When you are no longer able to, they make medical decisions on your behalf and handle your finances. This person has to be someone you trust and love—and if you choose to write a will only, this power will pass on to your parents.
It is an unfortunate insight that queer people are more likely to be estranged from their families. In such a case, it’s better to find a good estate planning attorney who can get your affairs in order.
Future Medical Needs
Besides disagreements over property, homosexual couples are more likely to have to deal with conflicting medical decisions. Parents are much less inclined to accept decisions made by their partners and spouses, which can lead to a lot of unpleasantness. There are two ways you can go about avoiding this.
The first is a living will. This is a decision that you made about your health with full clarity of mind, such as don’t resuscitate or donate my organs, etc. This directive will have to be followed despite opposition from partner or family.
The second is a healthcare representative, also called a proxy for medical decisions. When you assign a person as your proxy, they can make medical or spiritual decisions in your place. Whether it is after you have passed on or while you are incapable of speech, this one person will be responsible to decide what you would want to do in a certain scenario.