LGBT Wealth & Life Planning
Until same-sex marriage equality exists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are particular problems faced by Pennsylvania’s LGBT couples, as well as some advantages and opportunities made possible by not being legally married. At GLG, we are familiar with all aspects of planning for LGBT couples, including estate and gift taxes, income taxes, second parent adoption, domestic partnership and other agreements.
LGBT estate planning is essential for every LGBT individual regardless of wealth. Giampolo Law Group can help you establish or reorganize an LGBT estate plan which addresses your unique concerns, while accounting for the complexities in state and federal laws relating to property ownership, marriage recognition, gifts, health insurance and inheritance taxes. Only with proper estate planning can you be assured that your loved ones will be protected after you’re gone.
In addition to ensuring that your estate is governed by your wishes, proper LGBT estate planning protects the entire family throughout your lifetime. It equips you with the essential documents needed to make sure that your partner can visit you in the hospital, and permits you to make one another’s health and financial decisions should the need arise. Most importantly, it solidifies and protects the relationships each partner has to any gestational or adopted children.
If you own a business, proper LGBT estate planning can ensure that the business lives on after your death. A properly structured trust will avoid putting your loved ones through the expensive, lengthy and emotionally draining court probate process. Moreover, you can prevent some or any of your assets from being subject to estate tax upon your death, allowing more of your estate to be enjoyed by your loved ones, and less to be lost in taxes.
Lastly, LGBT estate planning allows you to provide for any charities or other worthwhile causes, while simultaneously receiving estate tax benefits.
For LGBT couples, a cohabitation agreement is similar to a Prenup; it spells out how to handle a variety of issues in a relationship. For example, it outlines the following for Wealth & Life Planning:
- Who owned what property before entering the relationships.
- How expenses are to be handled.
- How income earned while in the relationship will be handled.
- How finances and purchasing decisions will be made.
- Each party’s responsibilities with respect to financial expenses associated with living with one another including specifying each party’s responsibility for his or her individual debt.
- Defines the terms of a potential breakup and how all the assets, such as life insurance, would be partitioned.
- Determines how real estate would be valued, which is often the largest single asset a couple may own together.
A cohabitation agreement establishes each party’s legal rights and responsibilities and is a legal document that serves as a precaution to protect each party from litigation in the event the partners decide that they no longer wish to live together. This documents allows both parties to regulate their property and designate what will happen to the property in the future. It also permits both parties to make arrangements regarding specific assets that they acquired before deciding to live together and/or assets that they anticipate they will acquire during the period of their cohabitation. Most importantly, if children are involved, it sets forth an agreement regarding child-related and parenting issues.
Pet Care Planning
A Pet Trust is identical to a trust that you would set up for a human being; it is a safe and legal way to protect the most vulnerable member of your family.
As the “grantor”, you fund the trust to care for your pet for his or her expected lifetime. You select a “caregiver” who will provide the day-to-day nurturing of your pet in your absence. And, if you wish, you can choose a “trustee” whose responsibilities are to manage the funds of the Pet Trust and make payments on a regular basis to your pet’s caregiver.
Creating a Pet Trust allows the opportunity to leave detailed instructions about everything relating to your pet’s care including but not limited to: your pet’s general needs, exercise and diet needs, preferred veterinarian and health care. You will also determine who receives the remaining funds in the trust at your pet’s death.
At Giampolo Law Group we believe that proper planning for those we love leads to security and peace of mind. We will assist you in creating a Pet Trust that guarantees your pet will continue living a safe and comfortable life should anything happen to you.