LGBTQ Estate Planning in Charlotte

LGBTQ+ couples face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning in North Carolina. When a member of the LGBTQ+ community fails to properly engage in estate planning, the consequences can be devastating to their family. Relying on a will, joint tenancy, or tenancy in common as an estate plan amounts to giving up control of one's estate. It is worth taking the time to speak to an experienced Charlotte LGBTQ+ estate planning lawyer to ensure that your property will pass to your partner and family according to your wishes.

The Benefits of Speaking to an LGBTQ Estate Planning Lawyer

Many of us go about our lives without considering what would happen if we were in a devastating accident or suddenly became ill. The need for an estate plan is critical in these situations. Choosing a person to act as your power of attorney ensures that someone has the authority to manage your finances and make medical decisions for you if you are incapable of making those decisions yourself. Without completing a proper estate plan, your loved one could be legally prohibited from deciding what will happen in your care, managing your affairs, or even having access to you while you are incapacitated.

Creating a Durable Power of Attorney

When someone becomes incapacitated, family members and friends often face challenges in managing their financial affairs. For example, banks will not let an incapacitated person’s partner or spouse automatically have access to bank accounts listed in the incapacitated person’s name exclusively. One of the best ways to protect your finances and property is to create a durable power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to act as your attorney in fact should you become incapacitated. This person will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf, such as paying your bills and selling property should the need arise. In many cases, our clients’ main asset is their home. When a person suddenly requires long-term care in a nursing home facility, selling their home may become necessary. Appointing an durable power of attorney will allow you to select someone you trust, whether it is your spouse, partner, a friend, or a family member, to make these decisions for you should the need arise.

Civil Unions and Estate Planning

Due to a recent Supreme Court decision, same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. However, three are many LGBTQ+ couples who entered into civil unions or domestic partnerships before same-sex marriage became legal. The responsibilities and rights of registration vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you are in a domestic partnership or civil union, it is wise to speak to an estate planning lawyer. The estate planning lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can advise you on how being in a domestic partnership will affect your estate-planning. We can offer you tips to protect yourself and your property should you pass away or become incapacitated.

Unique Challenges Faced by the LGBTQ Community

There are several unique challenges faced by LGBTQ couples. LGBTQ couples can avoid multiple problems by working with an experienced estate planning lawyer. For example:

  • By creating a living trust, you can establish your partner as the trustee to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated due to illness or accidents.
  • We recommend appointing a healthcare power of attorney to avoid potential problems if you become incapacitated. You can appoint your spouse or domestic partner to act as your power of attorney and make decisions on your behalf. Doing so will also ensure that your partner has access to you during your illness or incapacitation.
  • By creating a thorough estate plan, you can ensure that your assets will be distributed to the people of your choice when and how you wish to distribute them. Without a valid will, the state of North Carolina will determine the recipients of your assets according to its intestacy laws.
  • Creating a living trust allows you to have privacy and avoid a public probate process and the opening of court records related to your estate. Many of our clients enjoy knowing that their estate plans will be private after they are gone.
Contact a Charlotte LGBTQ Estate Planning Lawyer Today

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and you would like to create an estate plan or update your estate plan, we can help. We focus our law firm on providing our clients with exceptional customer service. Contact the experienced estate planning lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule your initial consultation at our Charlotte, Mooresville, or Monroe offices.