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Estate planning is more important than ever for same-sex couples

With the Trump administration in place and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are concerned that the legal victories they've had in recent years may be rolled back in the upcoming years.

Even though it seems unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the country will be overturned, it's wise for same-sex couples to have an estate plan in place. By making your wishes for your partner and your children clear, you don't have to worry as much about whatever changes to state and federal laws may occur.

If you and your partner aren't married, it's particularly essential to have wills, financial powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney in place. In Maryland, domestic partners don't have any legal inheritance rights unless they are names as a beneficiary in a will. Further, if you live in a home that only one of you legally owns, your partner is not automatically entitled to inherit that home unless you leave it to him or her in your will.

All same-sex couples, whether they're married or not, would be wise to ensure that their partners and children are protected and that their wishes are carried out if they pass away or if they become incapacitated to the point where they are no longer to speak for themselves.

A Maryland family law attorney who is experienced in dealing with issues involving same-sex couples can provide guidance and advice on the proper legal steps to take to protect you loved one.

Source: The Washington Blade, "How did election change estate planning?" Lawrence S. Jacobs, accessed March 24, 2017

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