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LGBTQ+ Estate Planning Attorney in Boca Raton, Florida

A number of laws at both the national and state levels have been passed over the last few years that have significantly impacted the LGBTQ+ community. It is imperative that single and married LGBTQ+ individuals—as well as those who are in relationships but not married—have their estate planning documents periodically reviewed to ensure they reflect the current laws and protect them, their partners, and other members of their families in the event of mental or physical incapacity or death. 

A large part of my estate planning work involves helping Florida LGBTQ+ couples with estate planning. A comprehensive estate plan allows couples to protect each other with or without benefits afforded by marriage. LGBTQ+ couples sometimes think all they need is a will in case one of them dies, but a will alone may not effectively protect the surviving spouse if one partner dies. For couples raising a child, a will may not adequately protect the child, and it does nothing if one of the partners were to become mentally or physically incapacitated. 

At my law firm, I am committed to providing legal support and services to my LGBTQ+ clients and community. I work hard to remain current with the legal issues, accomplishments, defeats, and relevant news concerning LGBTQ+ rights nationwide. If you are looking for legal guidance in LGBTQ+ estate planning in Boca Raton, Florida, reach out to me — Eric H. Light, P.A. — to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation and learn more about your available options. 

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Challenges Faced by LGBTQ+ Individuals & Couples

Prior to 2015, LGBTQ+ couples faced challenges regarding estate planning due to not having the right to legally marry nationwide. With the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBTQ+ individuals won the right to be legally married in all 50 states. It is important to note, however, that this won equal rights for married couples. If you are not married, you might still face challenges when it comes to estate planning. 

Legal Recognition 

As stated above, though LGBTQ+ marriage is now legal nationwide, there are still hurdles for non-married LGBTQ+ individuals at the state level in some areas of the country. In Florida, there is no statewide legal recognition of domestic partnerships, which can create issues for some LGBTQ+ couples. 

Non-Traditional Family Structures 

Families that deviate from what was long considered to be “traditional” have become far more common over the years. This can include same-sex couples (married or non-married) and adopted children, as well as other individuals and relationships across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. In these non-traditional scenarios, individuals still desire ways in which they can protect their rights and ensure their loved ones will be cared for in their absence. 

Key Goals

As with any type of estate plan, there are basic goals to aim for, including: 

  • Protecting Partners/Spouses 

  • Ensuring Inheritance Rights 

  • Preserving Family Relationships 

  • Healthcare Decision-Making 

  • Minimizing Taxes & Probate 

  • Charitable Giving 

Making sure your estate plan meets your needs in all of these categories is important, which makes working with an attorney with experience in LGBTQ+ estate planning your best option to cover all of your bases. 

Legal Considerations & Potential Concerns

Depending on your personal situation (including whether you are married or not), there are other factors to consider in your estate plan, such as: 

  • Marriage vs. Domestic Partnership — As mentioned above, while married LGBTQ+ couples are granted equal legal rights, couples who are in a domestic partnership are not recognized statewide in Florida. 

  • Adoption & Surrogacy — Making sure your children (biological, adopted, or born through surrogacy) are accounted for properly in your estate plan is a crucial element. 

  • End-of-Life Care — While a will can be useful, you should utilize other estate planning documents to protect yourself and your wishes, such as designating people of your choice for your advance healthcare directives, powers of attorney, and more. 

It's natural to feel overwhelmed during these kinds of situations. That’s why it’s so important to work with a knowledgeable attorney with an understanding of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ couples in estate planning matters. 

Why You Need a Dedicated Attorney

I don't settle for being just another lawyer. I engage in creative law practice to find new interpretations of existing law to apply to non-traditional families. I am passionate in my quest to obtain the rights, privileges, benefits, and responsibilities that come with marital status, and will zealously advocate that these rights are rightfully afforded to all persons, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. 

Whether you are single, in a relationship, or have or do not have children, it is vital to put your wishes in writing. There is a variety of legal documents that will ensure that you and your family are protected in the event of illness, disability, or death. Estate planning documents will give you the peace of mind that your loved ones will be cared for according to your wishes. Healthcare directives and powers of attorney can make sure you designate who will make both medical and financial decisions on your behalf, as well as provide visitation rights should you become incapacitated in a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility.

LGBTQ+ Attorney Serving
Boca Raton, Florida

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you have the same legal rights as anyone else — including matters that involve estate planning and providing for the care of your loved ones in your absence. If you are in the greater Boca Raton, Florida area and want legal assistance with LGBTQ+ estate planning, reach out to me — Eric H. Light, P.A. — today to schedule a consultation to get started.