Putting together an estate plan is crucial for anyone who wants to safeguard their assets and to ensure their wishes are carried out after disability or death. Planning ahead can be even more critical for LGBT families. Despite the advances in recognizing same-sex couples’ and parents’ rights — including Connecticut’s legalization of gay marriage in 2008 — there are still potential uncertainties in state law about how your estate may be handled if you do not provide clear and detailed instructions.
Whether or not you are married to your partner, an estate plan can help make sure they are financially protected. It also allows you to provide for children who might not otherwise inherit from you if they are not biologically related.
Your estate planning documents should be carefully drafted with a view to your specific needs and objectives. Here are typical tools that will be of use in LGBT families:
A last will and testament — A will not only can direct the distribution of your property but also can designate an executor for your estate and a trustee for children to whom you leave property. This is important if you are the nonbiological parent of a child you have not adopted, since they would not otherwise be entitled to an inheritance.
Trusts — A trust is a vehicle for transferring property subject to terms and conditions. A remainder trust is a type that can be useful for LGBT families. It allows you to give a spouse or unmarried partner possession of property for life, with the right to derive income, and to direct that the property thereafter passes to children or other beneficiaries.
Appointment of Healthcare Representative — An Appointment of Healthcare Representative allows you to designate and authorize your spouse or partner to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Financial power of attorney — By drafting a financial power of attorney, you can authorize your spouse or partner to handle your financial affairs in the event of illness or incapacitation.
Beneficiary designations —Your retirement plans, pensions, 401Ks or other financial accounts ask you to name a beneficiary who has rights to the funds should you become disabled or die. Without a beneficiary designation, the property will pass according to state intestacy law, which may be contrary to your wishes concerning who should receive these assets.
The guiding principle in a comprehensive estate plan for LGBT families is that you should not rely on the state to carry out your wishes regarding property distribution or care of your loved ones. By giving thorough attention to all contingencies with the aid of a planning professional, you are on a path to achieving the results you intend.
If you are in an LGBT family situation, the skilled Connecticut attorneys at Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. can assist you with creating an estate plan that will carry out your wishes. Call 203-745-0942 or contact us online to arrange a consultation at our Hamden or East Haven office.
Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C. is located in Hamden, CT and serves clients in and around North Haven, Hamden, Waterbury, Bethany, Milford, Wallingford, Prospect, Woodbridge, Northford, Madison, Beacon Falls, Branford, Cheshire, North Branford, East Haven, Naugatuck, Meriden, Ansonia and New Haven County.
Attorney Advertising. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at
this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client
[ Site Map ]