Individuals from the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) may have some legal needs different from many others. Although laws are changing rapidly, many in the LGBT community are still not automatically protected under the law, nor are their relationships always recognized–particularly if they are not married. This means that intelligent work-a-rounds may be required.
The good news? The Supreme Court’s 5/4 decision http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf issued June 26, 2015, supports same sex marriage nationwide. It overturned the rather tortured DeBoer v Snyder decision from the 6th Circuit in late 2014 (see: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/14a0275p-06.pdf ). Gay marriage is now legal, and recognized everywhere in the USA!
But unmarried couples, same sex or opposite sex, should make use of protective planning and protective arrangements. This is sometimes possible using existing property law, contract law, and estate planning and beneficiary and health care designations. Sometimes this can be done via living together agreements, property purchase and sharing agreements–every situation calls for its own analysis and plan.
Gay couples who have married should still review all their paperwork and legal arrangements, to see if anything needs updating. And gay and lesbian and transgender individuals who are single should do all they can to protect themselves. Even with the US Supreme Court decision, there is a long way ahead before full equality is here. For many same sex couples who are not married, a host of issues also arise–if they marry, do the benefits outweigh the risk? Should they consider pre-nuptial arrangements before marriage just as some straight couples? Will retirement benefits now protect your same sex spouse? We help people explore those issues.
Bradley Vauter, J.D., has consulted with, and helped, scores and scores of individuals with these sorts of matters since he became an attorney. He can help you too.
Here is a link to a presentation we gave in June to some members of PACE at Consumers Energy: http://bradvauterlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ingham-county-probate-presentation-2016.pdf