Although married same-gender couples are now enjoying nearly all of the same rights as opposite-gender couples, there is still one key right that’s still up in the air—the automatic right to be legal parents. While parental rights are automatically bestowed upon the biological parent, the non-biological spouse/parent still faces a number of challenges when it comes to obtaining full parental rights. Luckily, same-gender couples do have an alternative to adoption—estate planning.
Although same-gender marriage is legally recognized in all 50 states, long-held prejudice at both political and family levels continues to create complications for married and unmarried same-gender couples. With this, especially if you're a member LGBTQ+ community, estate planning is even more critical for you and your beloved to ensure that they will be protected and provided for in the event of your death or incapacity.
If you are a mom or dad with children under the age of 18 at home, your number-one estate planning priority should be selecting and legally documenting both long and short-term guardians for your kids. Guardians are the people legally named to care for your children in the event something happens to you. And if you've named guardians for your children in your will - even with the help of another lawyer - your kids could still be at risk of being taken into the care of strangers!
One of your primary goals is to keep your family out of court and out of conflict no matter what happens to you. Yet, as you can see, if your family has to go through probate, your estate plan falls woefully short of that goal, leaving your loved ones most stuck in an unnecessary, expensive, time-consuming, and public court process. By having a comprehensive estate plan, you can help your loved ones avoid probate altogether or at least make the process extremely simple for them.
Divorce can be one of life's most stressful events. With so many major changes taking place, it's easy to forget to update your estate plan—or simply put it off until it's too late. After all, dealing yet with another lawyer is probably the last thing you want to do. However, neglecting to update your estate plan for divorce can have tragic consequences. And you shouldn't wait until the divorce is final to rework your plan—you should update it as soon as you realize the split is inevitable.
It's easy to prioritize other business matters over estate planning when you're running a business. But, in reality, one of your most pressing responsibilities is to consider what would happen to your business if you became incapacitated or died. Although estate planning and business planning may be two distinct tasks, they're inevitably linked. And, because your company is likely your family's most valuable asset, estate planning is critical not only for your company, but also for your family.
While both wills and trusts are the most commonly used estate planning vehicles to pass on wealth and other assets to your loved ones, putting your home in a trust has several distinct benefits compared to using a will. However, each family's circumstances are different. This is why your Personal Family Lawyer® will not create any documents until we know what you need and what will be the most affordable solution for you and your family—now and in the future—based on your family's conditions.
Giving donations to a charitable cause is a noble act of kindness. And you are also likely well aware that as with donating to charity during your lifetime, dedicating a portion of your estate to a charitable cause can reduce the taxable value of your estate. But it doesn’t end here. You may be surprised to learn about the numerous benefits available when you incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan. Learn more here!
Summer is coming, young people across the country are about to reach a key milestone: high school graduation. If you have a child claiming their diploma, now is the time to prepare them for life after leaving the nest, but make sure they've got the proper planning in place. By doing so, you're modeling good financial stewardship and setting them up right from the start. Financial and legal illiteracy is an epidemic that you can quickly address, starting with yourself and your own family.
To make certain that your business—and the income it generates for your family—would continue to run smoothly when something happens to you, you need to create a comprehensive estate plan, and it really needs to include a trust. Without such a plan in place, your business will be stuck in an unnecessary court process that could easily cause the loss of everything you’ve worked so hard to build.