GAY MARRIAGE IN FLORIDA – A TIME TO CELEBRATE!
BUT… CONTINUE TO BE VIGILANT!!
ESTATE PLANNING for the LGBT COMMUNITY is still an IMPORTANT and CRUCIAL NECESSITY, DESPITE THE RECENT ISSUANCE OF MARRIAGE LICENSES FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES in Florida.
Floridians can finally rejoice and be proud that Florida Courts have held the ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. However, the Florida Statutes still declare that marriage between persons of the same-sex are not recognized in Florida. Hopefully, with time, this law will be erased forever. In the meantime do all you can to safeguard your family. The only fool proof way to accomplish this is to have your estate planning documents prepared. Whether you are single, in a relationship, have or do not have children, if you want to make your own decisions about your future, it is crucial that you put your wishes in writing.
Last Will and Testament: A Will is a legal document that disposes of a person’s belongings after death. A will allows you to decide who inherits from you. You can leave money or property to your same-sex spouse, partner, family, friends, or charities of your choice. If you have minor children, you name a guardian for them in your Will. If you die without a Will, the Florida Intestacy statute directs how your assets are distributed. Florida law DOES NOT provide for non-family members (even if you were married in a state that allows gay marriage). Unless you draft a Will, your partner or same-sex spouse will not inherit from you.
Advance Directives: Advance directives are legal documents which allow you to put in writing your wishes concerning your future health care and treatment in the event you are unable to communicate your own wishes. These documents including the following:
- Living Will: A living will is a document that allows you to make the decision as to what life prolonging (death delaying) measures you wish in the event that you have a terminal condition, an injury or condition resulting in an end-stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state.
- Designation of Health Care Surrogate: This document allows someone you select to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are physically or mentally incapable of making those decisions for yourself. This person will also have the authority to implement your Living Will wishes.
- Declaration Naming Preneed Guardian: A preeneed guardian is a person named in a written declaration to serve as your guardian in the event of your incapacity.
- Hospital Visitation Release: This Authorization allows you to name the person you want to be given first priority of visitation in the event you are hospitalized.
- Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains: Written instruction giving authority to a named agent to carry out your wishes relating to body, funeral, and burial arrangements.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: This legal document authorizes an individual named by you (“agent”) to act on your behalf in financial matters, including buying and selling real estate, engaging in banking transactions, entering into contracts, investing, executing necessary tax returns and doing anything that you can do regarding your estate, property and business affairs.
If you have minor children and one of the parents is a “non-legal” parent, you may want to consider:
- Declaration Naming Guardian for Minor Children: This document is additional proof as to your selection of guardian of your minor children in the event of your future incapacity or death. You also name your choice of children’s guardian in your Will.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Child Care: This document authorizes an individual named by you to act on your behalf in matters related to your minor children.
- 2nd Parent Adoption
- To learn more: CONTACT PATRICIA H. DAVIS at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 904.614-3670.