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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Sacramento Estate Planning Lawyer Offers Thoughts for an Aging GLBT Community

February 21, 2011

When it comes to protecting your rights as a member of the aging GLBT community, you should consider consulting a Sacramento estate planning lawyer who can help you make the right choices. We hear horror stories of life-long partners who are denied access to one another, who lose their homes, or who don’t have access to inheritance upon the death of their significant other. Planning in advance can help minimize the chances for these injustices.

There are different ways to protect your partner upon your death.

  • Domestic Partnership – As the states go through the exercise of determining what does and does not constitute a marriage, there are still some designations that can protect your assets. In some cases, this is the domestic partnership. This type of legal declaration can provide the ability to inherit and to make medical decisions. With the stringency of HIPAA regulations, the designation of “spouse” can be a very important one.
  • Power of Attorney –A Sacramento estate planning lawyer who is familiar with GLBT concerns will likely advise you to go beyond the domestic partnership to also put powers of attorney in place. These provide even more legal recourse that allows one partner to be responsible for the other in emergencies. There are both health powers of attorney and financial powers of attorney, and both may be necessary for full protection.
  • Wills – In order to circumvent the negative repercussions of a family that is unwilling to deal fairly with a surviving partner, a will can be an important legal document. It can also help speed the probate process and help ensure that your affairs are dealt with in a timely manner.
  • Beneficiaries – When setting up a bank account or insurance policy, be sure to clearly name your partner as beneficiary. Otherwise, biological family members (or even previous legal spouses) may have rights to the money, leaving your partner out in the cold.

Of course, these are just some of the situations that may need particular attention from members of the GLBT community. There are many, many concerns that need to be considered by all members of the aging generation. Consulting a Sacramento estate planning lawyer is likely the most efficient and intelligent way to deal with all of these issues.

Ready to get started? Give our office a call at (916) 241-9661 and schedule a Peace of Mind Planning Session. These sessions are normally $750, but you can come free with the mention of this article. They are, however, limited to 10 per month so call today!

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Very professional, comprehensive service and extremely valuable. Heather and her team are very knowledgeable and we feel they have our best interests at heart. They make uncomfortable decision conversations possible and manageable. Working with Heather we were able to focus our attention on important issues that we questioned or purposely avoided for too long. Now that these questions are answered and our family is covered, it's a wonderful feeling.

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