Same Sex Couples & Estate Planning
Estate planning is important for all people of all ages and all marital statuses, but it is an absolute must for gay couples. As most people are aware, same sex marriages are not recognized in most states in America, but that has changed dramatically over the last year. Hopefully, this movement will be standardized across the United States soon. If you have not executed any estate planning documents, your property would be passed along according to the intestate succession laws in your jurisdiction of residence. So it is important to protect yourself legally if you want to make sure that your committed partner is taken care of in accordance with your wishes if you were to pass away or become incapacitated.
Planning for possible incapacity is something to take very seriously when you are in a same sex union as well. If you were to fall into an incapacitated state your legal next-of-kin and not your partner would be the individual who would be empowered to make health care decisions in your behalf. To make sure that the individual of your own choosing has this right you could execute a durable power of attorney for health care and name your partner as the attorney-in-fact.
You may also want to have a Living Will in place that states your preferences with regard to the types of medical procedures you would accept and those you would reject in the event of your incapacitation. Central to this document is usually going to be the issue of whether or not you would want to be kept alive on artificial life support systems if you were to become incapacitated and in a terminal condition. If you state your wishes in a clear manner that is legally binding your family members will understand how you feel and there should be no disagreements between your partner and the rest of your loved ones.