VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Same-sex partner estate planning

While it benefits all Florida couples to have an estate plan prepared, there are a few reasons it is especially important for same-sex couples. For example, same-sex partners might need powers of attorney in addition to wills so that a partner can act on one's behalf if necessary.

Ramifications still exist from some states not allowing gay marriage until the 2015 Supreme Court decision. Before 2015, some states did allow same-sex marriages. Of those that legally wed during this time, some moved to other states that did not allow gay marriage and then broke up. Not all couples dissolved their marriages as the states some couples lived in at the time did not recognize those marriages. This is a problem now as assets are traditionally passed to a spouse if one dies. As some states converted civil unions and domestic partnerships into marriages automatically after the 2015 court decision, some people could be legally married to a former partner without realizing it.

Those belonging to the LGBT+ community may have more control now when it comes to a loved one's medical information and decisions than before, but discussions about medical needs are still necessary. A health care surrogate or living will might be needed.

When both parents pass away, assets typically go to offspring. This means same-sex couples should ensure that any children are legally considered theirs. As only one spouse might be biologically related, a second-parent adoption might be needed. There are many other considerations involved when creating estate planning documents. One may wish to consult an attorney when creating or revising wills and trusts.

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