Philip L. Burke
The legal landscape concerning same sex relationships is constantly changing. Most recently New York State passed the New York Marriage Equality Act which now provides that same sex couples can get married.
Despite the frequently changing laws regarding same sex marriage at the state level, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act still denies over 1300 benefits to same sex couples, simply because of who they love. There are many legal techniques available to minimize the impact of this legislation.
Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples
Requiring creative estate planning tools that protect both parties, their loved ones, and their future, partnering with a lawyer who is familiar with the unique issues facing LGBT clients is critical. There are many tax and planning pitfalls that can be avoided with proper planning but require same sex estate planning experience.
Same Sex Power of Attorney
It is also very important to plan for financial and health care decision making during lifetime. A Durable Power of Attorney is a useful tool in dealing with financial transactions in the event of a disability. Power of Attorneys for Gay & Lesbian partners require additional legal knowledge.
Same Sex Living Will & Health Care Proxy
A Living Will and Health Care Proxy can help partners deal with health care providers who frequently are not familiar with the legal rights of partners to make decisions regarding health care. Also, litigation during probate is a common problem when an individual leaves their estate to someone of the same sex, no matter how long or loving the relationship was. The use of trusts and careful estate planning can avoid these pitfalls and ensure that the estate passes as intended, and loved ones are provided for.