Florida LGBT estate planning

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples in Florida

What Is Estate Planning?

Florida estate planning is the process of arranging the management and distribution of a person’s assets after their death. It also helps manage the assets during their lifetime.

For same-sex couples, the key estate planning documents needed are a (1) will, (2) living trust, (3) power of attorney, (4) healthcare advanced directive, and (5) living will.

How Does Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples Work?

For same-sex couples, estate planning ensures their assets and decisions are managed according to their wishes, as legal recognition varies.

Estate planning helps avoid legal complications and ensures partners can rightfully make decisions for each other in critical times.

We help families throughout Florida.

We take care of all the estate planning documents you need. You can get everything done remotely. Start with a free phone or Zoom consultation.

Alper Law attorneys

What Documents Do Unmarried Same-Sex Couples Need?

For unmarried couples, a comprehensive estate plan lets couples protect each other with or without the benefits afforded by marriage.

Sometimes gay and lesbian couples will think all they need is a will in case one of them dies. But a will alone will not effectively protect the surviving spouse if one partner dies, and for couples raising a child, it may not adequately protect the child. Plus, it does nothing if one of the partners were to become incapacitated.

Here’s what is needed for unmarried couples:

Will

A will protects the surviving partner and ensures that they are taken care of.

Living Will

A living will lets you state how you should be taken care of if you become incapacitated. It lets you decide what sort of life support you wish to be used under certain circumstances. Without a living will, the amount of life support used can be a contentious issue for family members.

Designation of Health Care Surrogate

A designation of health care surrogate lets someone designate their same-sex partner or whomever else to give informed consent for medical treatment and surgical and diagnostic procedures.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney lets one person act on behalf of another. The specific actions the other person may take depends on the language of the power of attorney document.

For gay couples, it is critical to execute both a financial and health care power of attorney in favor of each partner. Otherwise, the property of one partner could be completely out of the hands of the other if the first becomes incapacitated or otherwise unavailable.

Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian

A declaration of pre-need guardian lets you state who should be your guardian if a court determines you need one.

This is critical for unmarried same-sex couples because, without this declaration, you risk the court passing over your same-sex partner and designating someone else to be your guardian if guardianship ever becomes necessary. It could even be a family member hostile to your same-sex relationship.

Benefits of Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

Estate planning is crucial for same-sex couples to ensure their wishes are respected and their rights protected. By creating an estate plan, couples can clearly define how their assets should be distributed and who should make financial and medical decisions if one partner becomes incapacitated.

This legal clarity helps prevent disputes and ensures that each partner’s preferences are honored, particularly in states or situations where same-sex relationships might not be fully recognized.

Estate planning allows same-sex couples to provide for each other and their families, including naming guardians for minor children and setting up trusts for financial support.

Gideon Alper

About the Author

I’m an attorney who specializes in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from Emory University Law School and have been practicing law for almost 15 years.

I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors. Before private practice, I represented the federal government while working for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.