Even though LGBTQ rights have come a long way over the past few years, prejudice still exists. Some people and institutions continue to treat same-sex partners differently. If your family struggles to accept your sexuality, they could make things challenging for your partner when you die.
Use an estate plan to make your wishes clear
Here are some areas where things could go wrong if you do not make an adequate estate plan:
- Dying without a will: Creating a will allows you to specify who benefits from your estate. If you do not make one, a court will use state intestate laws to determine whom your property goes to. If you would like assets to go to an unmarried partner, make a will to say so. Unmarried partners do not benefit under intestate laws, regardless of gender.
- Making end-of-life decisions: Name a health care power of attorney to clarify who you want to make medical decisions for you if you are too ill to do so. Without that power in writing, there is a chance specific medical workers might not take your same-sex partner’s opinion seriously. Or your family could try to overrule them, believing they should have the right to make decisions for you.
- Funeral wishes: Perhaps you come from a family whose religion teaches that your same-sex relationship is wrong. Ensure you include a document with your will which specifies how you want your send off to be. It avoids the chance your family treats your funeral as a last-ditch attempt to “save you.”
Many of these issues are common to all unmarried couples. Yet, if you are a same-sex couple, problems may be more likely. The only sure way to make certain things happen as you would like is to set it down in writing in the correct legal fashion.