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Why careful estate planning is important for LGBT+ families

Estate planning is usually a good decision for anyone who has a spouse, children, dependent family members or significant personal property. Almost anyone will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing there are protections in place for their loved ones if something tragic happens.

Other people may want to protect their intended legacy, such as leaving money to charity, starting a scholarship fund or even ensuring that the people they love have resources for the rest of their lives. If you are part of the LGBT community, estate planning maybe even more important to you than to other adults with similar health and financial circumstances.

 You may need to ensure your loved one can stay in your child’s life

Whether you adopted a child, had a child from a previous relationship, or were the one who contributed sperm or carried your child that you share with your partner, you likely want to protect your loved one’s relationship with the child you share.

Especially if your spouse is not on the birth certificate and has not formally adopted your child, naming them as the guardian if something were to happen to you can help protect their relationship with your child.

Dying without a will could devastate your closest loved ones

Did you own your house before you got married, so it is only in your name? Are you the parent who does not have a formal legal or biological tie to the child in your relationship? If you were to die without a last will, it’s possible that there could be issues with the transfer of your property.

Especially if a child isn’t legally yours or you aren’t married to your partner, your biological family could potentially block your children or other loved ones from inheriting your property. Intestate succession favors legal spouses and biological or adoptive family members. If you don’t have verifiable relationships with the people you hope to inherit your property, it is critical that you put those preferences in writing or risk having them ignored after you die.

There are other concerns as well, ranging from tax issues to retirement benefits. If you don’t have a carefully structured last will or a trust, your hopes of contributing to a charity might die with you. The more complicated your family circumstances and the more significant the value of your assets, the more important it becomes to create an estate plan that protects you and the people you love.