LGBT Issues | Gay and Lesbian Law

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ESTATE PLANNING for the LGBT COMMUNITY

Whether you are single, in a same-sex relationship, have or do not have children, it is important to put your wishes in writing.  There are a variety of legal documents that will ensure that you and your family are protected in the event of future illness, disability or death. 

Estate Planning Documents will give you the security to know that your loved ones will inherit from you.  Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney will ensure that you designate who will make both medical and financial decisions for you should you become incapacitated and unable to make decision on your own. 

Take the first step in securing and safeguarding the future for you and your family by having all, or some of the following documents prepared:

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.

LGBT 2nd Parent Adoption.

Contact Attorney Patricia H. Davis, at 904.614-3670 or pdavis@jaxlawattorney.com to learn more about how these legal documents will protect you and your family.