What issues do same-sex couples face when estate planning?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2020 | Estate And Probate Law |

Same-sex couples in Southeast Wisconsin who are engaged to be married will have much on their mind. However, one aspect of being married that same-sex couples will want to consider is executing a comprehensive estate plan. Same-sex couples who want to execute an estate plan will face some legal issues that opposite-sex couples may not.

Estate planning issues unique to same-sex couples

First, it is important that any past marriages a same-sex partner may have had are truly a thing of the past. This is especially true if one partner was previously married to someone else in a state that allowed same-sex marriage before 2015 when same-sex marriage became legal nationwide. Those who are in such situations will want to make sure they take the steps necessary to lawfully marry in the state where they now reside.

Executing a will or trust is one way same-sex couples can ensure their partner and any children they have either from their current marriage or a prior relationship inherit their assets. The lack of a will or trust means a person’s estate will be distributed per state laws of intestate succession. This may mean that, without a will or trust, a person’s estate will not be distributed in a way they would have wanted. If a same-sex couple has children, it may be necessary for one parent to adopt the child if they are not the child’s biological parent.

In addition to a will, same-sex couples may want to execute a power of attorney. This document gives a partner the power to make financial and health care decisions on the other partner’s behalf in the event of incapacity. State laws on power of attorney vary, so it is important that same-sex couples consult with an attorney so they can execute a document that will be legally enforceable when the time comes.

Don’t undertake estate planning alone

Same-sex couples in Milwaukee who want to execute an estate plan will want to ensure that they take all steps necessary to ensure the final plan is comprehensive and legally enforceable. To do so, it can help to contact an estate law attorney who understand the issues same-sex couples face. With an estate plan in place, same-sex couples can feel secure that their wishes will be followed should they become incapacitated and upon their death.