In Texas, same-sex couples should have a plan in case of emergency or catastrophe, with the necessary legal documents in place, to save a lot of pain and heartache in the long run.
Needless to say, unmarried same-sex couples are not afforded the same rights as are married, heterosexual couples. Some of the most familiar rights afforded to married couples, but not to same-sex couples or to unmarried partners, include:
- Protections under probate inheritance laws
- Preferences under rules for healthcare and disability
- Ability to transfer large sums of money to one another without a gift tax or estate tax liability
- Survivor’s benefits under pensions and retirement
- Alimony and other property rights upon termination of marriage in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriages that took place in another state.
While gay, lesbian, and unmarried couples do not receive these rights automatically, with proper planning, many similar protections and benefits can be created. I can help protect you and your loved one by creating a comprehensive and thoughtful estate plan, which encompasses incapacity planning, wealth transfer planning and beneficiary protection planning.
There are times when you may need someone to make an important decision for you because you’re incapacitated, or because you simply happen to be out of the country. Either way, having a system in place to ensure that your life continues smoothly is a good idea. Fortunately, Texas state law allows an individual to clarify and protect their relationships, their estates and their own person by executing certain documents.
Taking the time to discuss your estate plan with me will save both money and trouble in the long run. I work with my clients to establish what their current assets are and to make sure they have the basic “foundation” legal documents in place, like Wills, General and a Medical Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives to Physicians (“living wills”) and HIPAA Authorizations. All of these work together to keep the individual safe and in control of his/her own life as long as possible.
Same-sex couples and unmarried partners have unique estate planning needs. If proper planning is not done in advance and certain safeguards are not in place, then you and your loved one are potentially opening yourselves up to a host of problems. These problems could include, but are certainly not limited to, trouble dealing with your loved one’s medical issues, conflicts when dealing with unfriendly relatives who might step in and destroy property interests, as well as medical, financial, and end-of-life decision making and involvement. These issues can effect numerous other aspects of your and your partner’s lives.
If you have any additional questions or need more information, please call me today at 682-234-2006 or email me to schedule your free initial consultation.