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Introduction

 

Gay Estate Planning: What is it? Who needs it? and Why?

Planning for life events, including disability and death, are not unique to the gay community. What is unique, however, are the needs of one's 'chosen' family that arise and are often at odds with the existing law, which may only recognizes traditional (next-of-kin or blood relative) families. We like to term this distinction the difference between one's 'logical' family and one's 'biological' family. Indeed, sometimes we do get to choose our families. Doing proper planning can ensure that you remain in control of your estate and that your wishes are carried out as planned. 
 
 States and the federal goverment provide varying rights to same-sex partners.  There are a variety of issues, different from those of traditional families, that should be addressed when considering one's life and estate planning needs.

The material contained in this website is meant to identify many of these issues and provide a framework for addressing them. This material is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking competent professional advice from a seasoned expert who understands and regularly works with these issues. To be clear, and with no disrespect intended, this does not mean simply finding an advisor who is 'gay friendly' – but – someone who has studied and worked with these issues and stays current with the rapidly changing climate in this area. There are an increasing number of such advisors nationally. We consider ourselves to be a part of this group and are happy to refer you to someone geographically closer to you if we cannot be of service or are not a good fit.


What is Gay Estate Planning?

While the process of life and estate planning often results in a common set of documents, we believe that, properly done, good gay estate planning includes counseling on important issues that factor into the ultimate results or documents. For example, a 'Gay Estate Plan' may result in virtually the same set of documents that are typically included in most traditional estate plans:

Will or Pour-over Will
Living Trust
Power of Attorney
Health Care Agent or Proxy
HIPAA Release
Living Will

Though the documents are similar, the counseling that will lead up to what should be contained in these documentsmay often be very different. Issues that are not normally discussedbetween heterosexual married couplesshould be discussed in this context, such as:

Whether to wed? The important legal and tax considerations of gay marriage
Who pays for what? The complexities of gift tax issues as between a same-sex couple.
Whether assets, after providing for each other, stay on one side of the family tree or the other?

The important point here is that when properly done, this process is more about the counseling that occurs while preparing the documents than the documents alone.
 

If we can help you with your Estate Planning, please do not hesitate to contact us at (617) 716-0300 or info@squillace-law.com.




The premiere law firm of Squillace and Associates serves the gay and lesbian community in the Boston Massachusetts area including Allston, Brighton, Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, East Boston, Roxbury, South End, Dorchester, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, Mattapan, and Charlestown and all of the Boston Metro areas including Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Chelsea, Medford, Everett, Watertown; South Shore areas like Quincy, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, and Cape Cod: Metrowest areas like Lexington, Concord, Wayland; and North Shore areas like Melrose, Stoneham, Reading, Andover.



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