Estate planning is a proactive process. You plan thoroughly so your assets are protected, tax exposure is limited, and your beneficiaries can avoid probate costs and hassles after you’re gone.
We’ll begin by analyzing your existing income, assets, insurance and goals, then we’ll consider the wide range of estate planning tools available – including wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney and simple revocable or irrevocable trusts. As we dig further into your situation, we’ll make more recommendations to best meet your particular goals.
Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Directives
If the moment comes when you are unable to make your own financial or health care decisions, or if illness, injury or age render you unable to articulate your desires, you want a person (or persons) you trust to take charge of your care. Living wills, powers of attorney and advanced (or end of life) directives are some of the tools we can put in place to ensure that your loved ones will be able to act according to your wishes. We’ll help you establish these tools to delegate the power your agents will need in such a situation.
Estate Planning for the LGBT Community
We are pleased to assist gay, lesbian and transgendered couples with the formation of domestic partnerships, community property and other legal strategies to protect their relationships.
At the very least, every LGBT couple should have a statutory Durable Power of Attorney and medical power of attorney in place. This will eliminate any doubt concerning your partner’s right to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make those decisions yourself. A binding medical power of attorney ensures that the person you want to make those decisions will be allowed to do so.
If you and your partner fail to plan properly, the results can be devastating. Without an estate plan, will, joint tenancy or tenancy in common, your estate and well-being can fall into the hands of people other than your chosen designate. This need to plan is essential for all families, but especially for those in the LGBT community. If an accident or illness renders you unable to make decisions or manage your affairs, your partner could be legally precluded from a role in the decision-making process about your care, management of your affairs, or even restricted from personal access to you.
We can help you avoid these issues, by examining your goals, putting a plan in place and executing that plan to prepare for your future. Some options include:
Powers of Attorney: Gives your partner control over your health care and financial decisions, and access to you should you become incapacitated.
Directive to Physicians: Sometimes referred to as a “living will”, this document allows you to make clear decisions about withholding or withdrawing life support if you have a terminal or irreversible condition.
Stand Alone HIPPA Authorization: Allows you to direct health care providers to release medical information to the persons you designate.
Last Will and Testament: Ensures that your assets will be distributed to those you designate, when and how you desire – and makes sure your surviving minor children will be cared for by your designee. An estate plan will also help your partner and surviving family members avoid penalties, unnecessary taxation, and court/attorney costs involved in probate.