For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the Greensboro, North Carolina area, the question of what is available to you when you decide to create an estate plan is often complicated. Not only are the laws surrounding this area changing on a nearly daily basis, but LGBT individuals and couples often have issues they must make sure they adequately address in their estate plans that heterosexual individuals and couples do not have to worry about.
Estate planning for the LGBT community
Whether you are single or in a relationship, LGBT people in North Carolina have far fewer options than people in heterosexual relationships when it comes to estate planning. The legal reality of estate planning is that married heterosexual couples have rights and privileges that LGBT individuals and couples do not. Even though recent court decisions have drastically changed the estate planning landscape for LGBT couples, developing an estate plan is still an essential step regardless of your circumstances or legal changes.
- Incapacity Planning. For people in a married heterosexual relationship, the question of who gets to make decisions for them should either become incapacitated is relatively straightforward. If you are married, your spouse can make decisions for you if you can no longer do so on your own. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of people in an LGBT relationship. If you want to control who has decision-making abilities should you become incapacitated, you need an estate plan.
- Inheritance Planning. Similar to the question of incapacitation, the question of who stands to inherit your property should you die is also essential for any LGBT person considering an estate plan. If you are married, each spouse has the automatic right to inherit from the other upon the other spouse’s death. The same is not true if you are in an LGBT relationship. However, you can grant inheritance rights to whomever you like if you choose to create an estate plan.
Greensboro North Carolina LGBT Estate Planning Advice
The idea that LGBT individuals in North Carolina can create an effective estate plan on their own, and without legal guidance, is a dangerous one. When you create any kind of legal device, especially those you create as part of the estate planning process, you absolutely must be sure that these tools match your needs and goals.
Even though North Carolina does not currently recognize the legal validity of same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships, there are estate planning options that LGBT people have.
However, to be sure that you take the right steps and create a plan that addresses all of your important issues, you need to consult a lawyer. The attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Cheryl David have a lot of experience counseling our clients on their unique estate planning needs, and can help you develop a plan that is right for you and your situation. Contact us and schedule an appointment to start the Greensboro North Carolina LGBT estate planning process, and check out our LGBT FAQ page for more information.