Gaughan & Connealy offers legal representation in the field of LGBT estate planning to anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Our legal team understands the complex issues faced by a group of people who have long failed to receive the full protections of the law. While the world is changing rapidly and LGBT individuals now have more rights than at any time in the past, there are still many areas where the law does not yet provide full protection. It is up to you to take advantage of the legal tools that do exist to secure your own future and to care for those you love.
To find out how Gaughan & Connealy can offer you assistance with LGBT estate planning, give us a call today. Not only can we provide personalized and detailed guidance in creating and implementing your plan, but we can also answer questions you may have including:
- What is LGBT estate planning?
- What should be included in my plan?
- How can an Overland Park or Kansas City LGBT estate planning lawyer help?
What is LGBT estate planning?
LGBT estate planning is very similar in many important ways to standard estate planning for straight individuals and couples. This is especially true now that gay marriage is the law of the land throughout all 50 states in the United States. If you have a partner you are married to, you now enjoy many protections under the law, including the ability to pass your property tax free to your spouse no matter how much money you have.
A standard estate plan typically includes efforts at asset protection; a plan to qualify for Medicaid without spending down assets in case you need nursing home care; an incapacity plan in case sickness or injury leave you unable to care for yourself and your assets; an advanced healthcare plan regarding what kinds of care you’ll undergo in an emergency; and finally a plan for what happens to property after death. Everyone needs to address these issues, regardless of their LGBT status.
There are, however, some unique issues that may arise for LGBT individuals- even after gay marriage has been made legal. For example, you may have property that you owned separately before marriage that you need to make provisions for in case of incapacity or after death. You may have been together for a long time but not legally married, which can affect eligibility for claiming Social Security on your spouse’s record. This can make retirement planning more complicated. You also may choose not to get married, even if you have a partner, which would mean taking additional steps to provide for your partner financially after death and to ensure that your partner is able to be involved in your medical care if you become unable to make your own medical choices.
You may have children you share which do not biologically belong to both of you, which can mean you must make provisions for guardianship after the death of the biological parent if the children are not adopted. Finally, you may have family members who are not supportive of your life choices, and you may need to ensure you have left advanced instructions and made advanced arrangements for your funeral so you can be remembered as you desire. This is especially important for transgender individuals, who want their funeral and the name on their headstone to reflect their true gender, rather than the gender they were born with.
What should be included in an LGBT estate plan?
The specifics of what your estate plan should include will vary depending upon your personal situation, your marital status, and your goals for your future and for the future of your loved ones. An LGBT estate planning attorney can help you to identify the important legal tools you may wish to use including:
- A power of attorney to determine who makes decisions for you and who manages assets.
- An advanced directive dictating your wishes for healthcare choices in the event of incapacity.
- A last will and testament to provide instructions for after your death and to distribute assets.
- Trusts to protect assets, facilitate the transfer of property out of probate, and ensure minor children have money managed for them.
Your comprehensive plan may include many additional components depending upon your needs, so be sure to get the right legal help so you can make a complete plan.
How Can a Kansas City or Overland Park LGBT Planning Lawyer Help?
Gaughan & Connealy has a long track record of offering LGBT estate planning services in Overland Park, Kansas City, and surrounding locations in both Kansas and Missouri. Contact our firm today to speak with a lawyer who understands the unique issues faced by LGBT individuals and who can offer you the guidance you need to plan for your future.