In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage would be legal in all 50 states. This ruling gave same-sex couples access to the same estate planning rights as heterosexual couples.
The problem is, a lot of individuals still have not started their estate planning journey. Estate planning is essential for those who want to make sure that they have control over their assets when they are gone. No one wants to think about a time when they will not be with the living anymore, but the truth is that we do not know when our lives will end.
Make a will
It is true that 6 out of 10 Americans have not created a will. When you die without a will, the state will make one for you, and your assets will go to individual(s) that the state determines. This is called intestate succession.
If you do not have a will and are in a legal marriage, it is likely that your state will pass on your estate to your spouse. However, if you are not yet married, the state may not recognize your partner as an heir to your estate. Having a will can help you dictate who you want your money and belongings to go to.
Consider a trust
Both a will and a trust can help you name where you want your belongings to go after you pass. Living trusts can help your loved ones avoid long and costly court proceedings, like probate. This is the process of going through your assets and determining where they will be given. If you create a trust, you can bypass this process.
Living wills also have the power to dictate your wishes in case of medical emergency or incapacitation. For example, if you suddenly fall into a coma, your loved ones know how to proceed.
If you are in a same-sex relationship or marriage, you now have the same rights as other couples. However, it is important to take advantage of creating an estate plan while you still can.