Last week, we started discussing the importance of customized estate planning for LGBTQ+ families. It's a topic that deserves attention because although we've seen progress in LGBTQ+ rights, estate planning laws still heavily favor heterosexual, cisgender couples. This means that without proper planning, your wishes and rights may not be respected after you pass away or if you become incapacitated.
So, let's dive into two more reasons why custom estate planning is crucial for every LGBTQ+ family. And in case you missed it, make sure to check out the first part of this blog series to get the full scoop.
Reason #3: Most traditional lawyers aren't well equipped to serve LGBTQ+ families.
While same-gender and LGBTQ+ relationships are more recognized today, many traditional lawyers are still navigating unfamiliar territory when it comes to estate planning for LGBTQ+ clients. This lack of experience stems from the fact that LGBTQ+ families only gained legal rights similar to cisgender couples relatively recently, and for many lawyers, it's still a new aspect of their practice.
On the other hand, many LGBTQ+ families haven't pursued estate planning due to a lack of knowledge about its importance or even its availability to them. Shockingly, only about 30% of American adults have an estate plan, and within that small percentage, only a fraction are in an LGBTQ+ relationship. For lawyers who rely on cookie-cutter plans (and there are more than you'd think), the level of customization required to create an effective plan for an LGBTQ+ family can be challenging or unappealing.
Unfortunately, there are traditional lawyers who may not feel comfortable working with LGBTQ+ families and may even refuse them as clients. That's why it's crucial to find an attorney who not only accepts LGBTQ+ clients but is also passionate about understanding your family dynamics on a personal level. You deserve an attorney who will create a plan that not only protects your interests but also celebrates your family and its unique legacy.
Reason #4: Keep your kids with the ones they love.
In LGBTQ+ relationships, family extends beyond bloodlines. It includes your chosen family and the deep bonds of love that you share. If you have children, ensuring their well-being and protection is of utmost importance. That's why it's crucial to have a plan in place that addresses who will be their legal guardian if something happens to you.
This becomes especially important when the children in your family aren't biologically related to one of the parents, such as step-children or children born to same-sex parents who aren't married. Not only does this require special legal planning, but LGBTQ+ parents may also face resistance from family members who may not support the idea of children living with a guardian who isn't biologically related or who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Additionally, if your family disapproves of certain lifestyle choices or parenting decisions you've made, such as embracing gender fluidity or discussing certain topics openly, it's vital to name guardians who share your beliefs and will honor your wishes in raising your children.
To avoid potential disputes and ensure the continuous care of your children, it's essential to explicitly designate legal guardians for them in your estate plan. This legal documentation establishes who you want to take care of your children in your absence, regardless of the guardian's relationship to your children or their sexual orientation. By doing so, you ensure that your children will be raised by the people you choose and the ones they love, protecting them from potential conflicts and allowing them to thrive.
When selecting an attorney, it's crucial to find someone who understands and respects the unique dynamics of your family.
Your attorney should prioritize the well-being of your loved ones, regardless of biology or sexual orientation. You deserve a comprehensive plan that not only safeguards your family's future but also celebrates your love, your family, and your dreams.
As we celebrate Pride Month, let's honor everything that makes us who we are by protecting what we hold dear. As an Estate Planning lawyer, I recognize the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ families. That's why my approach to law is different. I don't just draft documents; I place heart at the center of my practice. I take the time to understand you, your loved ones, and your unique needs. Together, we can create a plan that not only protects your family but also leaves a lasting legacy for generations to come.
If you're interested in learning more about how I serve LGBTQ+ families differently, I invite you to schedule a free 15-minute discovery call using the link below. Happy Pride Month!
Remember, this article is provided by Jacklyn A. Truppa of Dynasty Law, LLC. We go beyond merely creating legal documents; we empower you to make informed decisions about your life and the lives of your loved ones. Our Family Wealth Planning Session™ is designed to help you get financially organized like never before and make the best choices for the people you love. Call our office today at 1-312-248-4304 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.
And as always, please note that this article is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you require legal advice tailored to your specific needs, seek independent advice from a qualified professional.