Estate planning is essential for everyone, even those who think they may not have the wealth or assets to warrant going through the planning process. Ensuring you plan for the future is vital, especially for LGBTQ couples. If you’re unsure where to start when planning your estate with your partner, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll learn why this action is essential and discover how a Washtenaw County estate planning attorney can help you navigate the process.
Is Estate Planning Different for LGBTQ Couples?
In most instances, the process of estate planning does not differ for LGBTQ couples. However, marital status will impact what documents you should create.
Though it may not seem important, establishing an estate plan guarantees your assets, funds, and properties will be distributed according to your wishes. Without a legal plan, your estate will enter the intestate process. This means the state will take control of your estate, distributing assets according to the intestate line of succession. In Michigan, your belongings would typically go to your spouse or children. However, if you are unmarried and have no descendants, your parents or siblings would receive your estate.
If you have a long-term partner but have not married, they will likely not receive any part of your estate under state laws, making it crucial to create a plan before it’s too late.
What Documents Should You Include?
The most essential document you should include in your estate plan is a will. This is often considered the pinnacle of estate planning tools, as it details exactly what you would like to happen to your assets and property after you pass away. A will allows you to dictate what property you would like to go to who, as well as naming the executor of your estate and granting legal guardianship of your children should you pass away.
As you and your partner gain more assets, you can consider placing them in a trust, which grants you more control over your property and prevents these assets from enduring the probate process.
If you and your partner are not married, you may also want to consider creating a healthcare directive. This allows you to grant your partner power of attorney, giving them the authority to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to or incapacitated. If you do not grant them this right, your children or parents will have the final say regarding the treatment you receive.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
The sooner you start planning your estate, the better. Unfortunately, your life can change in the blink of an eye, so ensuring your assets are taken care of is crucial to obtaining peace of mind. You should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your wishes.
At Collis, Griffor & Hendra, we have the experience necessary to help. Though it can be intimidating, having an experienced legal team there to guide you is essential. Reach out today to connect with one of our seasoned attorneys.