Crafting an Estate Plan for Same-Sex Couples

Crafting an Estate Plan for Same-Sex Couples

Estate planning, while sometimes complex, is currently the only available tool for same-sex couples to ensure both partners receive what they need if one of them passes away.

The state of Florida has a number of constitutional and statutory restrictions that prevent same-sex couples from receiving many of the protections heterosexual couples are able to receive, especially when it comes to medical emergencies and death. Thus, for a member of a same-sex couple to secure personal assets for the other partner, the estate planning process offers a welcome relief.

To get this process started, couples should work with a lawyer. Although it is possible to engage in estate planning without one, people who do often find the process overwhelming and confusing. A legal professional makes sure you don’t overlook anything.

One of the most important forms to consider is a last will and testament. Keep in mind that a will has to be filed in court ten days after a death, and it is not always easily enforceable. Therefore, if you or your partner has significantly valuable assets discussed in your will, it helps to work with a lawyer to establish a third-party trust.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is forming joint accounts intended to stay out of probate. If either partner has a retirement account, be sure that the other partner is listed as the account’s sole beneficiary so the money never has to go through the probate process. That is important to preserve the income tax benefits of retirement accounts, too.

If you are part of a same-sex couple looking into the estate planning process, consult with an experienced estate law attorney who can ensure your plan adequately protects your assets and property. Speak with a Tampa estate planning attorney today to get started.