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Estate planning is one of the most important tasks you face as an LGBTQ citizen and there are several key estate planning documents no gay or LGBTQIA couple should be without such as a living will, a trust, HIPAA release authorization and healthcare directives. The steps you take now to prepare for what may lie ahead could have a big impact on your loved ones’ future. But knowing how to begin writing a will is not always easy. And LGBTQ residents often face unique challenges during the estate planning process. The key to overcoming these challenges and creating a bulletproof estate plan is to seek the expertise of a will attorney. For a free, and in depth, case analysis and a customized estate plan with our LGBTQIA estate planning attorneys please click here. The gay Pennsylvania lawyers at Giampolo Legal Group are here ready to help the gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender community anyway they can.
What is the primary purpose of a LGBT+ will attorney?
Also known as a wills and probate attorney, a will attorney guides people through the estate planning process. Their primary purpose is to help you create your will, which is a legal document that outlines how you would like your assets to be divided after your death. Choosing a will attorney with LGBTQ expertise is important to ensuring that your wishes will be honored when you pass away.
Why do you need a Pennsylvania will attorney?
A will attorney can walk you through the process of creating your will from start to finish. In addition to making sure your will is complete, an attorney will make sure it is valid and contains the necessary signatures. Essentially, there are four key reasons why you need a will attorney:
1) To ensure your will adheres to state laws
Each state has a different set of legal requirements pertaining to wills. For instance, neither Pennsylvania nor New Jersey recognize oral wills. However, a “holographic” will, or one handwritten by you, may be valid if you meet certain conditions. A will attorney makes sure your will complies with all state laws.
2) To help you overcome LGBTQ-related challenges
As an LGBTQ individual, you may find that you are more likely to face challenges from unsupportive family members and legal authorities. An experienced will attorney will help you anticipate potential challenges and ensure that your will is written in a way that overcomes them.
3) To help you understand estate taxes and avoid probate issues
The last thing most people want is for their loved ones to face a steep tax bill or have to endure a lengthy probate process. A will attorney will help minimize these issues for your loved ones by structuring your will properly.
4) To answer any specific questions you have about your will
Organizing your assets and preparing a will can be overwhelming. Many people find that they have questions around every corner. When questions or concerns arise, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your attorney is there to answer them quickly.
When is a will attorney needed?
If you think you don’t need a will attorney because you are too young or don’t have a big estate, then think again. Every American adult can benefit from a will attorney’s expertise. But LGBTQ residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are especially apt to need one – especially when sitting down to map out a plan for the future. Here are some specific situations that call for a will attorney:
- You inherited or received a large sum of money that you would like to leave to a specific loved one
- You are considering separation or divorce and wish to change your existing will
- You are engaged to be married and wish to include your future spouse in your will
- You have children or pets for whom you wish to leave money or possessions
- You were recently diagnosed with a life-threatening illness
- You are planning to expand your family in the near future
How can an attorney protect you and your loved ones?
A will attorney will listen to your story and make sure your will is properly drafted to reflect all of your wishes. At the same time, your attorney will serve as your advocate to ensure that a family member who may disapprove of your LGBTQ lifestyle does not end up taking control of your estate. Most importantly, a will attorney will offer valuable guidance and support to you as you plan for the future.
What can happen if you don’t have a will attorney?
The pitfalls of not having a will attorney can be devastating – especially to LGBTQ residents facing unique challenges. Here is a look at some of the problems that may arise if you don’t have a will attorney:
- Your wishes won’t be honored because your will does not meet state laws
- Your loved ones end up paying costly taxes on the money they inherit from you
- An “interested party” may try to look for loopholes in your will or challenge it
- A family member who does not support your lifestyle or values may end up with your estate
- Someone you don’t know may end up deciding how your assets will be divided
The single best way to avoid these problems is to hire a will attorney. We invite you to contact us today to speak with one of our experienced will attorneys about your estate planning needs. We look forward to helping you prepare for your future!