While LGBT individuals have made significant strides in gaining equality under the laws of the United States, there is still a long way to go before discrimination is stamped out. Unfortunately, some of the discrimination that exists affects the legal rights of LGBT individuals towards the end of their life and after their death. Because the laws are not perfect, those who identified as LGBT will have special issues to consider when they create their estate plan.
The LGBT estate planning attorneys at the Zimmer Law Firm have a long history of representing LGBT individuals in taking steps to protect themselves, their partners, and their families. When it comes to end-of-life issues, asset protection, wealth building, and protecting your family, you need to have the very best legal advice. As members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc., we have the credentials to provide the legal assistance you require. We also have the compassion and commitment to provide the type of advice you deserve. Give us a call today to find out how we can represent your interests in creating a plan for your future and to get answers to questions including:
- Why is LGBT estate planning important?
- What should be a part of your plan?
- How can an LGBT planning lawyer in Cincinnati help you?
Why is LGBT Estate Planning Important?
Before gay marriage was permitted, LGBT individuals did not enjoy any of the benefits the law automatically afforded to married couples, such as the ability to transfer assets tax free to a spouse after death. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage equality is the law of the land, you may decide to get married to your partner if you want automatic protections like the ability to leave property to your spouse without being taxed. However, not everyone chooses to get married – and if you don’t, it will become essential to address issues like making sure your partner can make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Whether you marry or not, you may face issues associated with having non-biological children, with having property owned separately before you married, or with having non-supportive family members who challenge your wishes. These are just a few of the many different issues that an LGBT estate planning attorney can help you to address.
For transgender individuals, other problems may also arise which are caused by the fact that their true gender identity does not always match up with the gender on their birth certificate. When medical decisions must be made for you, or when you pass away and want to be remembered in a certain way, transgender status can complicate matters significantly. An attorney with experience handling transgender estate planning can provide assistance with naming a healthcare proxy, leaving instructions for your funeral, and otherwise protecting your rights in the event of incapacity or death.
What Should be a Part of Your Plan?
An estate plan for LGBT individuals needs to make full use of the legal tools that allow for asset protection and that allow you to leave a legacy to those you love. This means your plan may need to include a last will; trusts for asset protection and to facilitate asset transfers; and a healthcare proxy and advanced directive in case of a serious illness or injury.
Because of your LGBT status, you may also have additional issues to address. For example, transgender individuals whose family members are not fully supportive may wish to ensure that their funeral is pre-planned or that detailed instructions are provided so that they are remembered with their true gender rather than their birth gender.
If you were unable to marry until recently and are thus not yet entitled to full veteran’s or Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s record, you may also need to make more comprehensive financial plans for your retirement.
These are just some of the unique considerations that LGBT individuals may have when planning for their future. An attorney who understands LGBT estate planning can help you to determine how the law protects you and where you need to take steps to protect yourself.
How Can an LGBT Planning Lawyer in Cincinnati Help You?
Zimmer Law Firm is committed to providing top-notch representation to individuals who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. We pride ourselves on offering you the advice you need to make sure you get the full protections available under Ohio law. Give our LGBT planning lawyers us a call today to learn more about how we can help.