Estate Planning Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

IS ESTATE PLANNING DIFFERENT FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES?

Estate Planning Lawyer Phoenix, AZThinking about getting married and looking for one a top estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ has to offer? At Kamper Estrada, LLP, our estate planning attorney understands that just like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples can benefit greatly from even the simplest estate planning.

Same-sex couples are now being offered opportunities and protections that were previously unavailable to them. With the Supreme Court ruling in favor of state recognition of same-sex marriage in 2015, estate planning is on the rise for couples in same-sex marriages.  Below are some considerations for same-sex couples to keep in mind while planning for the future.

Hire an Attorney

Do-it-yourself estate planning services might seem like an inexpensive and “good enough” option. But as an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ  has faith in will recommend, you should always hire an attorney to help create legal documents. The do-it-yourself forms rarely account for the needs of same-sex couples.

Previous Marriages

Before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, each state had different laws recognizing varying degrees of same-sex unions. A couple that was legally married in one state, may have not had their marriage recognized in another state. Often couples who had moved states would break-up, assuming their marriage was invalid anyway, and never legally divorced. If this sounds like you, make sure you contact an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ endorses to determine whether your previous marriage is still valid.

Comprehensive Estate Plan

A comprehensive estate plan is more than just a will. To truly care for and protect your family, consider creating the following documents:

  1. Last Will and Testament: A complete Last Will and Testament should clearly outline the following:
    • The Executor or Personal Representative
    • The Beneficiaries
    • Instructions for How and When to Distribute the Assets
    • Guardians for Minor Children
  1. Financial Power of Attorney
  2. Healthcare Directives: Healthcare directives are a compilation of three specific documents:
    • Healthcare Power of Attorney
    • Living Will
    • HIPPA Authorization

Consider a Living Trust

As a firm with an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ respects, Kamper Estrada, LLP can also provide information on setting up a living trust. A living trust is an entity created during the Grantor’s lifetime to hold and manage assets. After the Grantor’s death, the assets can be distributed directly to the Grantor’s beneficiaries without having to go into probate. Benefits of a living trust include:

  • Avoid Probate: Unlike a will, living trusts are not subject to the legally lengthy and often expensive probate process.
  • Less Stress: Avoiding probate will relieve your loved ones of undue stress during what will already be an emotional time.
  • Privacy: When a will goes through probate, it becomes a public document. Because a living trust does not go through that process, it protects your assets and wishes from becoming publicly accessible.

Protect the Children

Sometimes with same-sex parents, only one parent may be legally recognized. As an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on may suggest, same-sex couples may want to consider adoption, or at the very least, detailed estate planning that will protect both the parents’ and the children’s interests as a family unit.

Designate Beneficiaries

Depending on where you live, assets may easily flow to your spouse or they may not. Perhaps the easiest way to plan for your estate is to name beneficiaries on all accounts where such a designation is possible. In general, this means that the assets held in that account will pass to the person(s) you name upon your death. Common accounts that allow for beneficiary designation include:

  • Bank Accounts
  • Retirement Plans
  • Life Insurance Policies

Update Frequently

An estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ supports may recommend you review and/or update your estate plan every 3-5 years, or at any major life event. So, what constitutes a major life event?

Familial changes

  • Marriage or Divorce
  • Birth or Adoption
  • Addition of Stepchildren or Dependents, such as incapacitated adults
  • When a child turns 18
  • Illness or Disability
  • Death of a family member
  • Death of a named guardian/trustee/personal representative/agent

Financial changes

  • Career change
  • Substantial increase or decrease of assets
  • Change in life insurance coverage
  • Purchasing a home
  • Taking out a large loan
  • Receiving a large inheritance or gift
  • Retirement

Legal Changes

  • Changes in state Laws
  • Addition of new state laws
  • Moving to another state

Each of the above familial, financial, and legal changes require the knowledge of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

If you and your loved one are interested in creating an estate plan, you’ll need an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ believes in. Contact Kamper Estrada, LLP today and our experienced estate planning attorney offers free one-hour consultations.