Scriber Law Group, LLC.

An Act of Love: A Journey in Estate Planning for the LGBT Couple – Part One

In an ever-changing world, the age-old maxim “the only two certainties in life are death and taxes” continues to resonate amongst the masses. However for LGBT couples, what sounds settled and simple is instead intricate and fluctuating. Constantly at the mercy of governmental mandates affecting every core facet of experiencing life as an LGBT couple, pro-active planning for the future is an imperative. 

This is the first in a series of articles designed to assist, inspire and guide LGBT couples in a search for understanding why proper estate-planning is ultimately the most loving gift one can offer their partner.  

Lesson One:

Will You or Won’t You?

An Introduction to Wills

A smart partner plans for what is a certainty. A wise partner plans for what is not.

It’s a safe assumption to make that no one on the planet looks forward to thinking about writing a will. But the truth of the matter is; assisting your attorney to devise a will is one of the kindest acts you can bestow upon your partner. Why? Persons who transition without one are said to “die intestate.” What that means is the absence of a “testamentary instrument” (a will) allows the state’s intestate succession laws to determine everything that will happen to those things which you have created, cared about and labored. As an LGBT you have been subject to state intervention in all things sacred and private; why allow this to happen one more time when lgbt estate planningtaking control is so easy?

Specific Intentions

The most important aspect of a will is that it expresses your intentions to the court. In fact, the most vital and probing question the court asks when executing your will is: “What did this person intend to do?” Unfortunately, if a provision is unclear, the system does not expend very much effort searching for the real answer. Each state has procedures which are applied to issues that arise from a poorly written will. Again, you have created a special life with special results; make sure that your efforts will be respected and placed into the hands of those who share your joys and passions.

Preventing Heartbreak

The pain of transition is left for the living. Grief is a unique experience; each person handles loss in a different way. While some are tender and depressed, others are frustrated and angry. In a time of immense emotional upheaval, questions about your possessions are bound to emerge. One of the ways to ensure you contribute to the healing of those you love instead of the confusion is to have a clear, concise, detailed and binding record of your every wish. In a perfect world this would be obvious and handled with the spoken word. But as you have learned by discovering your true identity, this is far from a perfect world. A valuable rule of thumb is: If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen. There is no better time than the present to begin the journey of making your ultimate memory one of organized and intentional responsibility towards those whom you love.

Peace of Mind 

While denial is a fascinating tool, there is no doubt that somewhere in the back of one’s mind is the nagging knowledge that important final wishes have not been finalized in writing. These issues can include familial relationships, health decisions as well as the future dispositions of property. There is no one better to determine the course of your life than you. Sharing your wishes and desires with your attorney will have a cathartic effect on your state of mind; it will remind you of who you are and how important your life has been. It will eradicate the persistent sense of unrest and prove to yourself and your loved ones that you are responsible.

The Law Office of Stephen M. Scriber

It’s not just enough to have an attorney; it must be an attorney who understands.  The legal team at our firm is uniquely sensitive and dedicated to providing the LGBT couple with the dignity they deserve. We are aware of the immense hurdles and confusion that can arise in a LGBT relationship and we are here to translate your commitment into legal certainty. We welcome you to our journey into the world of LGBT Estate Planning and encourage you to contact us with any concerns, large or small pertaining to your unique relationship.

Next week: What Exactly is a Will and How Does it Work?

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