LGBT Couples Should Consider Putting All Assets into a Joint Ownership
As we have mentioned before, the ultimate way to get out of estate planning is to leave absolutely nothing behind. And while this is certainly not unheard of, if you have worked hard all your life to provide for your family, that probably is not changing now. Even the most organized individuals will put off creating an estate plan though because of many reasons. Often, we don’t want to face the idea of our eventual deaths—or we feel so full of life today that we are not in touch with the concept of mortality at all. Others find the legal aspects of estate planning intimidating, along with the inevitable organizing of asset information. This is all true for same-sex couples too, but even with the legalization of marriage they may still have other unique issues that must be considered and provided for in any estate plan—especially as the biological family may be favored after death.
Although comprehensive estate planning provided by an experienced firm like Scriber Law Group is recommended from the beginning, if you are worried about your will being contested, or you want to be doubly sure that assets will go directly to your partner, joint ownership can sometimes be a good solution, offered through three different methods:
- Rights of survivorship
- Community property
- Tenants in common
If your goal is to avoid red tape for beneficiaries after your death with assets such as real estate or financial accounts such as 401K, IRAs, or life insurance policies, you will want to pursue joint ownership with rights of survivorship—assuming your intent is to make sure the accounts in question go to your partner (whether you are married or not). If you choose community property in joint ownership without an estate plan in place, Georgia intestacy laws will prevail; with an estate plan, however, your beneficiaries would receive assets as outlined there. In using the tenants in common option, each of you owns half of the asset, with your designated heir(s) receiving it when you die.
Although joint ownership for same-sex couples, as well as anyone else, does help eliminate the chance of probate later, keep in mind that it should not be a substitute for thorough estate planning that includes a will, power of attorney, advance directive for health care, and other options such as the revocable living trust or special needs trust.
Because estate planning needs for the LGBT community can be more intricate, please contact Scriber Law Group for a free consultation where we can answer your questions and offer further information. We will handle your case with honesty, integrity, and sensitivity. We also help clients with the following:
- Domestic partnerships
- Wills & Power of Attorney
- Name Changes
- Birth Certificate Amendments
Please call (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.