What To Consider Regarding Estate Planning In LGBTIQ+ Relationships

LGBTQI Relationships

Estate planning is a fundamental factor to consider for anyone in a long-term serious relationship. Now that laws have changed in America allowing LGBTQI+ couples to marry, there are certain elements to review. Prior to this, life partners could decide to bequeath any portion of their estate to whoever they chose. However, now that federal marriage laws for LGBTQI+ couples align with heterosexual marriage laws in terms of estates, roughly one-third or more of a deceased person’s assets will go to the surviving spouse.

This is something that is important to understand and take into account. The financial advantages and disadvantages of marriage should be considered, wills should be assessed and altered, and prenuptial agreements may be advisable in certain situations.

There is much more to consider than the marriage proposal. When it comes to protecting assets and ensuring loved ones are looked after following the death of a spouse in a same-sex relationship, it is particularly important to investigate rights and law changes. The Law Office of Jonathon D. Mishkin provide efficient services when it comes to estate planning for same-sex partners, whether that involves domestic partnerships, civil unions, or marriage.

A Will Is Important, As Is Keeping It Up To Date

People in a same-sex relationship who are not married can face intestacy laws after the death of one partner when it comes to determining who receives assets. Without a will, these will often go to the partner’s blood relatives and not the domestic partner. Wills must be updated to incorporate all intended people or organisations.

Ensure Partnership Changes Are Reviewed

If a previous partner was named as a beneficiary through a domestic partnership agreement, assets are legally designated to that person rather than the current partner. An option is to create a trust, which can protect assets more than a will in some situations. Making wishes clear in relevant documents is vital to reduce the risk of wills being contested.

Asset Rollover

Prior to the marriage laws being changed, assets from retirement accounts could not roll over without a mandatory minimum distribution or lump-sum distribution. Now, when the surviving spouse who initially received the assets dies, those assets can move on to someone the first person desired, such as any children they may have.

Real Estate And Gift Splitting

Real estate owned before a marriage should also be reviewed. There are different ways now to allocate properties, even if there is shared ownership prior to a death. Gift splitting also enables same-sex married partners to reduce the size of their taxable estate by making financial gifts on a tax-free basis up to the annual exclusion limit. These are complicated, and subsequently, legal advice is crucial to ensure assets and property are allocated to the correct person or people.

The Unlimited Marital Exemption

In terms of gift and federal estate taxes, married same-sex couples can now claim the unlimited marital exemption if both are American citizens, whereas prior to the law changes, couples relied on applicable exclusion amounts.

Estate Planning With Non-Biological Children In Mind

Parents in LGBTQ relationships have certain factors to consider. This is particularly relevant when only one person is the biological parent. The non-biological parent can consider adoption to establish a legal relationship to avoid the risk of a custody battle after the death of the biological parent. This is extremely important to look at if the child was born before the couple got married. Partners who do plan to adopt the child when considering marriage will only receive adoption tax credit before the marriage, so timing is pertinent.

Mishkin Law Provide Comprehensive Estate And Financial Planning

Marriage laws have now opened up life-changing options for same-sex relationships. But this comes with many new complex elements that must be considered in terms of estate planning. Deciding who receives assets in the event of a death is potentially more complicated for the LGBTQ community. That is why legal assistance is highly recommended to ensure wishes are met and the allocation process is as smooth and congenial as possible.

At the Law Office of Jonathan D. Mishkin, we are experienced in supporting couples and reviewing plans. For more information and to make an appointment, please visit our website: https://jmishkinlaw.com/estate-planning-for-same-sex-couples/

Jonathan Mishkin

Jonathan D. Mishkin focuses his practice on tax/trust controversy, estate planning, taxation and closely-held business advisory services with offices in Portland, Bend and West Linn. Drawing on deep experience gained inside both large accounting firms and large law firms, Mr. Mishkin capably advises and counsels individuals, families and their businesses, and trusts/trustees.


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