Legalizing same-sex marriage within state laws gives same sex couples equal inheritance rights in those states. However, if a state has not legalized same-sex marriage it is important for same sex couples in those states to provide for each other through carefully crafted estate plans.
Recently, the Nashville Business Journal published "4 key steps to creating a formal estate plan for same-sex couples."
The list includes:
- Create the basic documents - The first step is to create the basics such as wills and powers of attorney.
- Review and adjust beneficiary designations - Life insurance and retirement account beneficiaries need to be adjusted.
- Consider Joint Ownership - Couples can hold important property jointly so the surviving partner will automatically inherit the property. Think personal residence.
- Consider using a trust - Trusts can be used to make sure property is divided the way that you see fit.
Of course, it should go without saying that all of the above should be done with the assistance of an estate planning attorney for the best results.
Reference: Nashville Business Journal (April 24, 2015) "4 key steps to creating a formal estate plan for same-sex couples."