Estate Planning for LGBTQ+ Couples and Families

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Estate Planning for LGBTQ+ Couples and Families

LGBTQ+ individuals face significant challenges for their sexual orientation, from social isolation and rejection to directed violence and discriminatory laws. Estate planning is another area where LGBTQ+ couples and families encounter considerable issues.

Find out how you can maneuver through the complexities of estate planning and legal hurdles specific to the LGBTQ+ community and forge essential tools like wills, trusts, and power of attorney necessary to protect your loved ones and ensure your legacy lives on with pride.

Why Estate Planning Matters (Especially for LGBTQ+ Families)

State Recognition

Common-law partnerships and same-sex marriages are legal in a minority of states. The disparity in legal recognition leaves cohabiting partners automatically without an inheritance or legal control over their partner’s assets upon death or incapacitation. LGBTQ+ families encounter costly legal battles in the absence of a will or trust to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are entitled to assets held in the deceased’s partner’s name.

Blended Families

Many LGBTQ+ families live with children from previous relationships or acquire dependents through adoption. The laws overseeing estate inheritance or Social Security benefits require survivors to prove they qualify to receive any compensation. The process is tedious and, at times, unfruitful without a will or legal document specifying your wishes. Estate planning clarifies inheritance for all your loved ones, preventing confusion and conflict.

Chosen Family

Estate planning allows you to select beneficiaries beyond the confines of biological ties, ensuring your designated family, including close friends, chosen siblings, and adopted children, inherit your estate according to your specifications.

Essential Estate Planning Tools


Write a will outlining how you want your assets distributed after your death. Legalize the document with the power of an attorney. Remember, wills are contestable in court. If you have non supporting family members, you may need extra tools to secure your loved ones’ future and prevent the greed of your family from leaving them in shambles. 


You can also open a trust, a legal entity that holds and distributes your assets according to your wishes. Trusts offer greater control and privacy compared to wills. They also help your beneficiaries avoid probate, a lengthy and unnecessary court process.

Power of Attorney

Grant someone you trust the legal authority to manage your finances and healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated. A power of attorney is essential for LGBTQ+ couples who might not have automatic decision-making rights in hospitals since the legality of such union is limited in most states.

Navigating Legal Hurdles

Find an LGBTQ+-Friendly Attorney

Look for lawyers with expertise in LGBTQ+ matters to guide you through the estate planning process. They understand the legal limitations, loopholes, and rights specific to same-sex unions. Leverage their knowledge, experience, and resources to your advantage.

Be Proactive

Start planning your estate while you still have time. Don’t wait until retirement or when push comes to shove to organize your estate. Your surviving partner may have to contend in court with haste will-making. Furthermore, early planning gives you more control over your legacy.

Consider Potential Family Conflict

Ask with your attorney to include a “no-contest clause” in your will if you anticipate disputes from your biological families. The directive will discourage biological non-beneficiaries from contesting the will and disinheriting your loved ones upon your demise. 

Start Planning Your Estate Today

With all the legalities still opposing same-sex marriages and families, proper planning is essential to secure the future of your loved ones. Estate planning ensures your chosen family remains protected upon your death or incapacitation. Without it, your loved ones will have to fight against laws that stifle their rights to your hard-earned estate.

The buck stops with you. Start by taking steps to safeguard your assets now. You can always amend the documents as you desire. Starting early gives you complete control and ahead in organizing your estate. As always consult an expert to guide you through the process.

To learn more, contact your Barnum representative today. Don’t have one? Click to get a complimentary financial assessment.

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