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A few estate planning considerations for same-sex couples

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2017 | Estate Planning, Firm News

Although a progressive sense of certainty is attaching to many legal considerations relevant to same-sex couples in Arkansas and across the country, no reasonable person would ever contend that progress — the march toward comprehensive recognition of same-sex rights and full equality for partners in that demographic under state and federal laws — has been seamless and unremittingly steady.

That reality — that things are getting better but still far from perfect — is quickly and explicitly recognized in a recent national news piece that stresses the importance for same-sex couples to promote some fundamental certainty in their relationship through sound estate planning.

A proven estate planning attorney that routinely advocates diligently on behalf of a diverse clientele and zealously promotes their interests across the full panoply of planning concerns can of course assist materially in that process.

As noted in the above media focus, one of the first things that focused and empathetic legal counsel will likely turn to is the question of marital status. Although a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage across the country, ambiguity regarding status can still attach in some instances.

To wit: Prior to the SCOTUS ruling, a same-sex couple legally married in one state might have subsequently relocated to another state where same-sex unions were not recognized. In the event of a failed relationship, it would have been logical for any such couple to forgo a formal divorce, given that (as noted in the above-cited article), their marriage “didn’t count anyway.”

Yet the high court’s decision ensured that it did. The result in some cases across the country is that some individuals who believe they are single are actually married.

LGBT couples “need to talk to a lawyer” regarding estate planning, says one commentator/author on the subject, while forgoing in most cases generic and boilerplate planning documents and online services that fail to adequately address and respond to other than the simplest of planning concerns.

An experienced attorney can help ensure the rights and interests of same-sex partners are fully promoted across all relevant dimensions of estate planning and administration.


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