Dallas LGBTQ+ Estate Planning Lawyers
Helping You Protect Your Estate & Legacy
Setting up an estate plan is a vital part of protecting your legacy, but the process of doing so can be daunting. At DebnamRust, P.C., our Dallas LGBTQ+ estate planning attorneys help LGBTQ+ Texans develop comprehensive, long-lasting estate plans that will secure their property and best interests.
Estate Planning Considerations for LGBTQIA Couples
LGBTQIA individuals and couples have a number of unique considerations they should take into account when developing an estate plan.
1. Having an estate plan that includes powers of attorney, a living will, and a last will and testament, is vital if you want to hand down assets to your loved ones and preserve your legacy. This may seem obvious, but statistics indicate that LGBTQ+ investors are significantly less likely to possess wills than heterosexual investors.
A last will and testament enables you to specify how you want your estate to be distributed among friends, family and loved ones, as well as any post-death wishes you have, which is important.
However, having a living will coupled with a statutory durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney, are just as crucial. All three of those documents combined, ensures that you receive high-quality care if you become incapacitated and your estate gets looked after by someone you trust.
2. It's important to note that, with the 2015 federal legalization of gay marriage, LGBTQ+ couples can now also utilize unlimited marital exemption. This is a benefit restricted to married couples in the U.S. that removes any limits on deductions for federal estate and gift taxes. In other words, you can leave an unlimited amount of assets to your spouse in your will without a federal estate tax applying to that property.
If you share children with another party but only you are their biological parent, you should also consider having the non-biological parent formally adopt the child(ren) if there is no other legal parent. This makes it easier to name the non-biological parent as a guardian for your kids in your will.
3. If you do not have any children or a spouse, you may want to will part of your estate to a charity. This could require special tax planning and consultation with an attorney to make sure that this gift is transferred correctly in your estate planning documents.
4. If you own real property outside of Texas, then you should consult with an attorney immediately. Real property goes through the probate process where the real property is located, and multiple probate proceedings would result in multiple states if proper planning has not occurred.
5. You may want to clear up any confusion surrounding property ownership. Many LGBTQ+ couples have shared property and cohabited for a significant amount of time before the Supreme Court federally legalized gay marriage. However, that property may not be considered marital property legally if it was acquired by one party pre-marriage or could involve litigation to determine if a common law marriage existed under Texas law prior to the 2015 Obergefell ruling.
If you share property with your spouse that is technically "separate property" but that both of you would consider a marital asset or liability, it may be worth drafting a postnuptial agreement to designate that property as marital. Doing so could help a spouse retain property if their partner passes away and another party tries to contest the will or claim that property through familial ties by stating it was separate property.
At DebnamRust, P.C., our Dallas LGBTQ+ estate planning attorneys have experience helping members of the LGBTQ+ community develop comprehensive estate plans that protect their interests.