Creating an estate plan is something that can benefit every adult. It provides clarity, direction and guidance, which can be enormously valuable during a very difficult time. That said, there are some people for whom estate planning is especially critical.
This includes people in the LGBTQ community, especially those who are older. If you are part of this group, the fact is that you and your loved ones could face complex and contentious challenges if you become incapacitated or when you pass away.
Without documents like a will in place, the courts will distribute a person’s property in accordance with state laws. This can become contentious when the decedent no longer has relationships with family members. Estranged relatives may wind up receiving valuable property or money while non-relative loved ones receive nothing.
Those who do leave a will should be sure it is valid and updated. It is possible that family members who may have disagreed with a committed relationship will attempt to de-legitimize it. A relative may contest a will, for instance, hoping to have the courts set it aside to exclude the surviving partner.
According to this article, older LGBTQ adults can be isolated; they may have few trusted friends and a partner whom they may not have married.
Under these circumstances, decision-making authority can become contentious if you do not create an estate plan.
If you are incapacitated, for instance, there is no guarantee that your partner or other trusted party will be allowed to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. The person appointed to administer your estate may have no clear understanding of what you want.
Providing guidance in uncertain times
Administering an estate may be complicated in even the most traditional cases. Adding difficult family dynamics and unions that are not legally recognized can only make matters more complex.
To ensure you protect your wishes and make the legal process easier for your loved ones, you can create a comprehensive estate plan that answers the questions others may struggle to answer when you cannot speak up. The legacy you leave should be on your terms, and by utilizing various estate planning tools, it can be.