Denver Estate Planning for Nontraditional Families Attorney
For personalized estate planning that benefits your blended or nontraditional family in Colorado, come to Brady, McFarland & Lord, LLC, in Arvada. Estate planning expert, attorney, and author Karen L. Brady has offered valuable assistance to a wide variety of individuals, couples, and families during her 21 years of legal experience. She can work with you to tailor specific strategies that suit your unique needs and goals. Your lifestyle should not determine your legal ability to create something useful for those you care about most. Karen L. Brady has the command of estate planning tools, compassion, and creativity that helps you prepare for a brighter future. Call our Denver estate planning for nontraditional families attorney at (303) 420-2863 or contact us online for a free initial consutlation.
What Is a Civil Union?
A civil union is a legal relationship between two people. It provides legal protections for that couple only at the state level. Since a civil union is not a marriage, civil unions don’t offer federal benefits or protections. Before same-sex marriage was legalized federally in 2015, most same-sex couples didn’t have the opportunity to get married and instead had to become partners via civil unions. Civil unions are often referred to as marriage without the title.
What Is a Domestic Partnership?
Domestic partnerships are similar to marriage, but they are not identical. Civil unions provide more financial rights than domestic partnerships. However, domestic partnerships and civil union rights vary widely state by state. Some states have domestic partnerships and not civil unions or vice versa. There aren’t any federal guidelines for a domestic partnership, and the federal government doesn’t recognize this type of relationship. The advantages or disadvantages of a domestic partnership versus marriage benefits also can vary state by state.
Solid Estate Planning for Nontraditional Family Legal Issues
If you have brought children from a previous marriage into a new relationship, estate planning for your blended family can present various problems that only a professional estate planner can remedy. Death of a spouse, disinheritance of a deceased spouse’s children, control of an estate by one side of a family – these possibilities call for forward-looking preparation of legal documents that protect you.
Nontraditional and same-sex couples face their own set of obstacles. There are special estate and income tax advantages allowed only for married couples that aren’t available to “significant other” situations, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. We can build an estate plan for you that operates within the law and anticipates any contest that may come from “traditional” members of your family. Most blended or nontraditional family members don’t realize that law firms like ours can talk them through their choices. They are aware of their unique problems but don’t know who to turn to for solutions.
Estate Planning Tips for Same-Sex Couples With Children
In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry applies to same-sex couples. All 50 states were required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, and all 50 states were required to allow same-sex couples to marry in their state. All same-sex married couples were given the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex couples. Therefore, the estate planning needs of same-sex couples in the United States are fairly similar to the estate planning needs of opposite-sex couples. However, this can change when children are involved. If you are a same-sex couple and you have children, there are likely additional steps that need to be taken to ensure that your assets are distributed as you wish once you and/or your spouse pass away, or if one of you becomes incapacitated. You need tools available to deal with potential issues from “traditional” family members who may object to your wishes as well.
Our Denver estate planning attorneys recommend taking the following steps if you have children and are in a same-sex relationship:
1. Put Everything in Writing
If you don’t document absolutely everything, then when you and/or your spouse pass away, your assets will be distributed according to state law. This can be complicated if you have children together. Are your children adopted? Who carried the children? Are you both legally the parents of your child/children? All of these things need to be considered when you are planning your estate. It’s not as simple as when an opposite-sex couple has a child. It’s well worth your time and money to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure everything is detailed and accurate so your wishes can be followed.
2. Consider A Trust
Another suggestion is to consider a revocable living trust. This offers you the ability to manage and distribute assets as you wish without going through probate. This allows you to distribute your assets to anyone. The power of a trust allows decisions to be made by the people who should be making them.
3. Establish Rights
If you are in a same-sex relationship and you have children, it’s almost always in your best interest to have both parents legally adopt the child or children. This is important so that if one parent becomes incapacitated, the other parent still has all of the necessary legal rights. We can help you plan all of this.
4. Hire an Estate Planning Law Firm
Anytime you’re part of a nontraditional or a blended family, it’s a good idea to hire an estate planning law firm. Unfortunately, the laws created in this country have been done so with heterosexual couples in mind. To ensure that all of your needs and wishes will be met as you intended, planning is necessary.
Your Initial Consultation With Attorneys
Our law firm provides skilled legal leadership for gay and lesbian couples, blended, and nontraditional families in Colorado. We can help you overcome those problems, achieve your goals, and protect what matters most in life – your loved ones’ futures. At Brady, McFarland & Lord, LLC, our Arvada estate planning attorney’s service clients in Colorado cities throughout Arapahoe County, Denver County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Clear Creek County, and Gilpin County.
Call our office at (303) 420-2863 or contact us online for a free initial interview.