Jane and Nancy were elated when the high court passed the LGBT case in favor of them. They married a few weeks later, but sadly, Jane passed away from cancer a month ago. This was when the problems started. Nancy was instructed to vacate Jane’s house because there was no will. She tried talking to the family, but they couldn’t hear anything she said in her defense. She had to vacate.
The right to marry represents one of the most significant wins for LGBTQ Couples. However, while these couples expected things to change, the rate at which they are implemented isn’t as fast as they expected.
This judgment didn’t resolve all the issues that came with being LGBTQ Couples. The decision meant that your partner could inherit your estate according to the law. It also grants the partner access to the benefits that you are entitled to.
Well, this is a good step, but you need to understand that the win didn’t change the way other people look at you. For one, it doesn’t compel the family members to treat you differently or acknowledge your union.
One of the biggest hurdles you have to face is the family attitude towards you. If the family of your partner hasn’t accepted you as part of them, then be ready for a battle when your partner passes away.
If you fail to plan, you are merely giving your family and the court the right to make decisions regarding the estate without involving your partner. This can lead to feuds in the family, and might also lead to a costly probate process.
When it comes to having minors in the union, being legally married doesn’t automatically make your partner the guardian to the kids. He might have to adopt them anew to gain full parental rights over them.
Sadly, even with these hurdles, same-sex couples end up making a lot of mistakes that make the succession process harder. Let us look at these mistakes.
Failure to Review Their Finances
Do you know what you own? Do you know what your partner owns? Many couples find it hard to share what they own, and they end up losing out when it comes to succession.
The aim of reviewing your finances is to make sure that your partner has enough to survive when you pass away.
Try and identify the assets that you own, and then come up with a list of expenses that you will incur as a couple.
Jot down the debts you have accrued so far, and then strike them off the list whenever you pay them off. This analysis can be overwhelming and complex if you have a lot of stuff to handle, seek the services of an estate planning lawyer to make things easier for you.
Lack of a Valid Will
Many partners find themselves in the dark when they realize the person they were in love with didn’t leave a will, or the one that was left behind isn’t valid.
Whether you have a few thousand dollars or a million dollars in your estate, you need to make sure you have someone named as a beneficiary.
Make sure you sit down with an attorney and come up with a valid will. Take care to name all the beneficiaries and indicate what they get from the estate.
Failure to Review Beneficiary Designations
Many partners pass away without designating the person to receive life insurance proceeds, 401(k) and IRA benefits. These designations usually don’t follow what you stipulate in the will.
Apart from these designations, go ahead and update the accounts that don’t need to have beneficiaries and turn them into payable on death accounts. These will bypass the stipulations of the will and will be paid to the beneficiary the moment you pass away.
Lack of End-of-life Documents
If your partner found themselves in an end-of-life situation, who is the person that makes decisions on behalf of them? Has your partner granted you the legal authority to do this? And if you have been given the authority, do you know what medical procedure he wanted, and those that he doesn’t want?
The laws that dictate the end-of-life decisions are different in each state. This means you need to talk to your estate planning lawyer so that you understand what the law of the state stipulates regarding the preparation of these documents.
The documents are supposed to be prepared and given to your attending physician so that they know what to do and when to do it.
Hiding Vital Documents
If you have come up with a will, you must let your executor know where it is. Make sure your lawyer also has a copy of the original document so that when the time comes for your partner to access them, they know exactly who to approach.
Avoid these mistakes, and you will be able to make your partner’s future easier.