While estate planning is important for all North Carolinians, it may be even more crucial for individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or transgender. When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in 2015, some legal matters became simpler for those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. However, if you identify as a member of this community and still harbor confusion regarding legal issues — including how to best plan for your life and death – you are not alone. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a sustainable plan for your future.
As a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, The Law Offices of Cheryl David is uniquely qualified to offer estate planning advice to gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender individuals. Our legal team not only serves individuals interested in end-of-life planning, but also assists young families who desire to protect their own interests using the current legal tools available to North Carolina residents.
Our attorneys have provided support to gay couples and LGBTQ+ individuals for many years now. We prioritize keeping up-to-date with changes to North Carolina law and how those changes may affect you as an LGBTQ+ person. We’re here to help clients in Greensboro, Guilford County, and surrounding North Carolina counties. We offer you a personalized plan and can answer all of your questions including:
Why is Estate Planning essential for the LGBTQ+ community?
Federal and North Carolina law has advanced significantly when it comes to protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender individuals. With the advent of marriage equality, you and your spouse now possess the legal ability to avail yourselves of the automatic protections that come with marriage. For example, you may invoke the right to transfer tax-free assets to your spouse when you pass away.
Of course, national marriage equality only comprises one building block of full equality for LGBTQ+ individuals and families under the law. Estate planning remains a critical component of creating a thriving family during your life and beyond – and marriage equality legislation offered no advancement on the topic. Therefore, like other LGBTQ+ individuals residing in North Carolina, you may have unsolved concerns regarding your estate plan. Depending on your gender identity, you may carry apprehensions about whether your family members will recognize your unique identity during your memorial or funeral service. If you are a parent, especially in a blended or adoptive family, you may worry about your biological or non-biological children’s futures if you become incapacitated or if you pass away.
If you desire to address such matters effectively, consulting an experienced estate planning attorney is your best option. At The Law Offices of Cheryl David, our legal team can help you create an estate plan that seamlessly protects your right and executes your wishes. Our attorneys will listen carefully to your personal situation, and skillfully apply North Carolina law to your concerns so that you receive maximum benefit. Until federal and state laws provide complete equality for LGBTQ+ individuals and families, and until societal discrimination disappears, estate planning will remain a front-line tool by which you can protect your legacy and your loved ones.
What will my Estate Plan entail?
When you attend your initial estate planning appointment, your attorney will seek to understand the big picture of your life’s important relationships, priorities, and assets. Based on this conversation, your attorney will help you create an estate plan that precisely addresses the unique needs of your own personal situation. You can bring up with your attorney any pressing questions about incapacity or illness, guardianship of your children, transfer of your estate’s assets, etc. You should ask your attorney about the range of estate planning actions you can take to assure yourself that your family’s future is under your control, even in the case of your own disability or death.
Your estate planning attorney can assist you with identifying each distinct component that should be included in your unique estate plan. Some legal instruments available to you may include:
- A last will and testament, which may describe in detail any number of your final wishes. For example, you may wish to give directions regarding your funeral or memorial service arrangement. Most importantly, you may name guardians if you have minor children, and specify the distribution of your assets in the way you want. Leaving clear instructions may be distinctly important for transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals whose family members may fail to accept or support their lived gender identity
- A durable power of attorney, which provides for the management of your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This type of power of attorney empowers the person you name to handle your financial affairs if you cannot do so yourself because of illness, injury, or disability.
- A healthcare power of attorney or other instrument that provides for the management of your medical care if your become incapacitated. This type of power of attorney empowers a responsible party to make important health decisions for you, if you cannot make those decisions yourself due to illness, injury, or disability.
- A trust, which serves as a separate legal entity that can hold your assets apart from your personal finances or property. Trusts are appropriate in many situations, including for transferring assets to avoid probate. Some irrevocable trusts are appropriate for preserving funds in case of long-term care or medical expenses. If you and your partner are not legally married, a trust in which your partner serves as trustee can work as an alternate means of asset transfer.
How can estate planning with The Law Offices of Cheryl David help me as an LGBTQ+ individual?
The Law Offices of Cheryl David stands ready to assist you with your estate planning needs. Our attorneys utilize every legal resource to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender individuals ensure that North Carolina law works in your favor – despite state law’s history of disfavor towards the community.
Numerous legal tools exist to protect you and your family according to your situation. When you visit our offices, our friendly and compassionate legal team will ensure the best estate planning approach is made available to you and your loved ones. If you are a proud LGBTQ+ individual, please consider taking the necessary measures to protect yourself and your loved ones today. If you live in Greensboro, Guilford County, or any of the surrounding counties, our attorneys can help. Give us a call at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online to learn more about LGBTQ+ estate planning.