November 28, 2014

Estate Planning Issues in Domestic Partnerships

Same-sex couples face extraordinary challenges in estate planning. This Law Office welcomes people from all walks of life and those with alternative lifestyles. We will prepare you and your estate plan for the particular issues which may present themselves upon the incapacity – be it temporary or permanent – and upon the death of you or your domestic partner. In many ways, estate planning for gay and lesbian domestic partners is more critical than it is for legally married couples. Some issues commonly faced by domestic partners are:

a. Hospital visitation of partner-patient
b. Decision making in health care settings
c. Hostility from family towards lifestyle
d. Hostility from family towards your partner
e. Ability to handle financial matters of partner
f. Clarity of ownership of real estate
g. Clarity of ownership of bank and investment accounts
h. Clarity of ownership of personal and/or household items
i. Inclusion in decision making of Funeral and Burial arrangements
j. Updating your estate plan for changes in your personal situation and life events
k. HIPPA authorization for access to medical records
l. Common caveat challenges of wills in probate (e.g., undue influence, mental competency)
m. Guardianship of domestic partner in incompetency proceedings
n. Provision for children in will
o. Pros and cons of joint ownership of real estate and other property
p. Advice on registering your Health Care Power of Attorney
q. Communicating one’s wishes to family and medical professionals

Sometimes domestic partners may be shut out of the decision making process you may have preferred he or she be in regarding your care. Or your partner may be deprived of his or her rights of ownership of property you two may have co-owned. The goal of this Law Office for your estate plan is a crisp, clear, comprehensive arrangement that anticipates the lack of support or even hostility your surviving partner may face from family, the law, and medical staff at the point of your illness, incapacity, and death. We will work together to achieve this security for you and your partner.

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