Protecting The Health Of North Carolina LGBTQ Families
Without the proper power of attorney in place, a partner in a same-sex relationship may not have the legal right to make decisions related to your health care, to be informed by medical professionals as to your health status after surgery or an emergency or to make end-of-life decisions.
Even if you have discussed your partner’s wishes, unless you have formally executed a power of attorney for health care and a living will (also known as a health care directive or advance directive), you may be excluded from decision-making when it comes to his or her health. If you have minor children that your partner is not the legal or biological parent of, an authorization for the healthcare of a minor may be necessary to protect your child and ensure that their healthcare needs are taken care of when you are not able to do so.
At Daly Mills Family Law, we advise LGBT clients on the importance of powers of attorney, especially for same-sex couples.
Protecting The Finances Of The LGBTQ Family
The simplest way to ensure that you always have access to your partner’s finances is to maintain joint accounts, but that may not be the best way to meet you and your partner’s specific financial needs and goals.
Everyone should have a will. It is a simple way to make sure that your property is distributed to whomever you want it to be if you die. It is even more important for same-sex couples to have valid, up-to-date estate planning documentation. If you do not have a will, the state will decide, based on existing laws of intestate succession, who will inherit from you. Typically, it will be your parents and any legal or biological children, not your partner.
Depending on the size of your estate, there may be tax issues that should be considered in planning as well. Whether a last will and testament, a living trust or a combination of estate planning documents are appropriate depends on your unique financial and family situation.