Lesbian and Gay Estate Planning
Before we can discuss the details of Estate Planning, we need to define what an 'estate' is!
You may believe that only wealthy people are in need of an estate plan because --
unlike you -- they live in a mansion, own a limo, have a stock portfolio, etc.
In reality, if you own a house, a car, a stereo, a plasma TV, furniture, a CD and/or DVD collection, etc., then you DO have an ESTATE!
An estate is simply everything you own; all of your assets (whether real property or personal property).
During your lifetime your assets are just the valuable stuff you own. Once you die, that same stuff is miraculously transformed into your "estate."
If you want to sell your assets while you are living, you post them on Ebay or have a yard sale. Whereas, after you die, someone else may sell your stuff in an "estate sale."
So, anyone with valuable property (valuable in that someone else would want to own it) has a future estate!
Now, if you want to make sure a particular person or group GETS your stuff after you die, then you need an estate plan so that your State does not dictate who will inherit your property.
Whether or not we are wealthy, anyone who wants to give their stuff to a partner or children (or someone else for that matter) who is NOT a legally recognized family member, MUST create estate planning documents.
If you do not put your wishes in writing before you become disabled or die, according to the laws in all 50 states, your legal relatives will have ALL of the decision making rights over your medical treatment and ONLY those relatives will have all of the rights to inherit your estate.
Even if it seems overwhelming to be planning now for what will happen after you die, just imagine how devastated your partner will be when he or she learns you did not bother take care of this vitally important issue!