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The Benefits of Living Trusts for LGBT Couples
Published June 24, 2010
Same sex couples often encounter unique estate planning issues, as their unions are not recognized in most states, and are, therefore, not legally protected. There are, however, estate planning options open to same sex couples that can provide them with the security they need.
Living trusts are one of the best options for same sex couples because they provide the following benefits:
• Living trusts will give one partner the authority to handle the other’s assets in the event that one of them becomes disabled.
• Trusts offer more security than wills because they are harder to challenge, do not require that a notice of proceeding be sent to the closest heirs, offer privacy since they are not part of a public record, and do not cause the delay in accessing funds that wills sometimes do.
• Putting one partner’s name on the other’s assets, or establishing joint tenancy, is not as advantageous as establishing a living trust. With joint tenancy, one partner may be held responsible for the other partner’s debts and liabilities. Also, with joint tenancy a partner would lose control over these assets once the other partner has passed away.
• Under New York law, you can designate in your living trust who you want to be responsible for your funeral arrangements.
Without proper estate planning, GLBT couples can encounter significant problems, as they may be legally precluded from having any role in the decision-making related to a partner’s care, from managing his or her affairs, or even having access to the incapacitated partner. Creating a living trust will allow GLBT couples to provide for the security and future of their partners.
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