The Importance of Customized Estate Planning for LGBTQ+ Relationships – Part 2

Last week we started the discussion of why it’s so important for LGBTQ+ families to invest in custom estate planning. While major strides for LGBTQ+ rights have been made in recent years, estate planning law is still written with hetero, cisgender couples in mind, which means that, without proper planning, your wishes and rights may not be respected when you die or if you become incapacitated.

This week, I’m covering two more reasons why every LGBTQ+ family needs custom estate planning. 

And if you missed last week’s blog, make sure to read it here to get the full scoop.

Let’s get started!

3. Most Traditional Lawyers Aren’t Well Equipped to Serve LGBTQ+ Families

Although same-gender and LGBTQ+ relationships are more publicly recognized now, creating effective estate plans for LGBTQ+ clients is still new territory for many traditional lawyers. 

Some lawyers simply lack experience serving LGBTQ+ families because these families didn’t have the same rights as cisgender couples until just eight years ago. While that’s nearly a decade, it’s only a fraction of most lawyers’ careers; for lawyers in their 30th year of practice, new developments in LGBTQ+ planning are still fairly foreign.

Moreover, many traditional lawyers create cookie-cutter plans for their clients. The amount of custom language necessary to make an effective plan for an LGBTQ+ family is more than many lawyers know how to do.

Therefore, it’s crucial to work with an attorney who is comfortable with and educated about serving LGBTQ+ families. Such an attorney should be eager to understand your chosen family and its dynamics, and will delight in creating a customized plan that celebrates all that you’ve accomplished and all that you hope for your family’s future.

4. Keep Your Kids with the Ones They Love

If you’re in an LGBTQ+ relationship, you know that family isn’t just about blood. It’s about choice and love and shared community. And if you have children, you know that ensuring their well-being and protection means more than more than relying on the state’s protection. 

In the event that something happens to you, it’s crucial to have a plan in place that assigns a legal guardian for your children. This is especially true if your children aren’t biologically related to you, such as step-children, or to each other, as in the case of blended and foster families. The last thing you’d want in the event of your death is the further disruption of your children being separated from their caregivers or siblings.

Additionally, LGBTQ+ parents may also face resistance from family members who may not support children living with a biologically unrelated guardian or an LGBTQ+ guardian, whether you and your partner were married or not.

Similarly, if your family is resistant to certain lifestyle or parenting choices you have made – such as supporting gender fluidity or the topics you discuss within your family – it’s incredibly important to name guardians who align with your beliefs and who will honor your wishes for how you want your children to be raised.

Legal Guardians Are Even More Important for LGBTQ+ Families

To avoid potential disputes and ensure the continuity of care for your children, it’s essential to designate legal guardians for your children explicitly in your estate plan. By doing so, you can legally establish who you want to care for your children in your absence regardless of the guardian’s relationship to your children or their sexual orientation.

By clearly and legally documenting who you would want to raise your children, you help ensure that your children will always be raised by the people you choose and in the manner you wish. 

Otherwise, you leave space for relatives who do not agree with your beliefs to try to take over the position of guardian and raise your children in a way you would not agree with – possibly even keeping them away from the other parent figures in their life.

Choose a Lawyer Who Understands and Honors Your Unique Family

Finding a lawyer who truly understands your unique situation is crucial in ensuring your children are taken care of by people who love and respect them, regardless of biology or sexual orientation. You deserve a plan that celebrates your love, your chosen family, and their future.

This Pride Month, celebrate all that you are by protecting everything you love. Jane Legal understands the unique challenges that LGBTQ+ families face; that’s why we don’t practice law the traditional way.

To learn more about how I serve LGBTQ+ families differently, schedule a free 15-minute discovery call.

Happy Pride Month!

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