Unmarried couples and same sex partners face unique estate planning challenges. If proper planning is not done in advance and certain safeguards are not in place, your loved one may be open to a host of problems. These problems could include, but are not limited to trouble dealing with your loved one’s medical issues, trouble dealing with unfriendly relatives who may step in and destroy property interests, as well as medical, financial and end of life decisions. Without proper planning, the Texas Probate Code, under current law, may create situations where the partners of physically or mentally incapacitated persons are denied access to each other even for farewell visits. Thoughtful planning is just an additional way of saying, “I Love you.”
Needless to say gay, lesbian and unmarried couples are not afforded the same rights as are married, heterosexual couples. Some of the most familiar rights afforded to married couples, but not to same sex partners or to unmarried couples, include:
- Protections under probate inheritance laws;
- Preferences under rules for healthcare and disability
- Ability to transfer large sums of money to one another without a gift tax or estate tax liability
- Survivor’s benefits under pension, retirement and social security, alimony and other property rights upon termination of marriage.
While gay, lesbian and unmarried couples do not receive these rights automatically, with proper planning, many similar protections and benefits can be created.
Your legacy and your family is safe with us when you utilize the power of planning so we can help protect you and your loved one by creating a comprehensive and thoughtful Estate Plan, which encompasses incapacity planning, wealth transfer planning and beneficiary protection planning. Additionally , we can also assist you in establishing a Cohabitation Agreement or a Life Alliance Agreement, which outlines asset ownership as well as liability issues for you and your partner, applicable both during your lives together and in the event of the end of your relationship.