Apr 052012

If you are a member of the LGBT community in Florida, having a properly prepared estate plan is essential. This is because Florida law does not recognize gay marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships.  This means that many of the informal niceties occasionally granted to heterosexual couples, such as the ability of husbands and wives to make medical decisions for one another without formal paperwork, does not exist for LGBT couples.

Thankfully, Florida law does recognize the validity of legally binding documents, no matter the sexual orientation of the maker.  A Florida revocable living trust and durable power of attorney can help with the management of assets when the principal individual is unable to handle their own affairs.  Florida advance health directives, such as a living will and designation of health care surrogate, are documents that express the maker’s wishes and desires concerning aspects of their future health care.  A domestic partner agreement is a written contract between partners that is used to address the sharing of income, expenses, and property.  It supports each partners’ ownership rights and clarifies their intentions regarding the distribution of property if one partner dies or the relationship ends.

If LGBT couples have not put their wishes in a legal writing, they run the risk of losing their right to choose who they want to make vital decisions about their finances, personal affairs, and health care.  Their partner may find that they have no right to inherit their property, raise their children, visit them in the hospital, or control the disposition of their remains.  This is why it is so important that LGBT couples to consult with a knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney who is ready to serve their needs.

If you are a member of the LGBT community in Florida, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville who can help you today.