Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

Virginia Family Law Attorneys Serving Gay and Lesbian Couples

Members of the LGBT community must take special proactive measures to ensure they are not shut out when their partners need them the most.

While same sex married couples are granted exclusive rights and responsibilities when a spouse dies or suddenly loses the capacity to make decisions or manage one's care, non-married same-sex couples are not granted such rights. Therefore, gay and lesbian partners must take even more precautions through effective estate planning.

At Barnes & Diehl, P.C., an estate planning attorney can assist with the drafting and implementation of a thorough estate plan tailored to your unique needs. We have extensive estate planning experience and comprehensive knowledge of the laws in Virginia. Our experienced and knowledge are an asset to clients as we craft an estate plan tailored to protect their interests.

Our estate planning services for same-sex couples may include:

  • Advanced health care directives and power of attorney: Advanced health care directives and powers of attorney come into play when you become incapacitated. By creating advanced health care directives and appointing your partner as your power of attorney, you ensure that if something were to happen — accident, illness, etc. — leaving you incapable of making important health care decisions, directing your medical care or managing your finances, your partner will not only have the right to see you, he or she will also have the legal authority to convey your wishes or make those important decisions on your behalf.
  • Living trusts: Living trusts provide opportunity to manage your assets while you are living and pass them to your partner after your passing — without the added time, expense and risk of probate. While a last will and testament that designates a same-sex partner as the primary beneficiary can be contested in probate court (as can any other will), it is very difficult to contest the validity of a living trust. Therefore, there are not the additional delays brought on by a disapproving family. A living trust, however, is only effective if assets are transferred into the trust and managed effectively. We can assist in the initial funding of the trust (re-titling assets) and guiding you on the important measures to maintain the trust.

While the most critical pieces of estate planning for same-sex couples usually include the creation of living trusts, advanced health care directives and powers of attorney, our lawyers are also adept at assisting clients with other estate planning instruments, such wills, trusts, guardianships for minor children, designation of executors and other important estate plan components.

Experience, reliability and results are the hallmarks of our law firm. We are dedicated to maintaining our high level of attentive service in creating individualized estate plans for you and your partner so that you can have peace of mind knowing that you are both protected and that the state — and your family — will comply with your wishes.

Contact Our Virginia Attorneys

Contact the Richmond/Chesterfield, Henrico or Hanover law offices of Barnes & Diehl, P.C. today to speak with an experienced Virginia estate planning lawyer who will answer your questions about estate planning for same-sex couples and offer advice on the best methods to protect your assets and both you and your partner's interests.