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Recent Blog Posts


Same Sex Marriages

Posted 6 years 361 days ago ago by Danielle Streed

With the recent changes in the law regarding marriage for same sex couples, there are many questions going around as to what estate planning documents are needed.  As with all married couples, it is not enough to assume that marital rights will take care of everything.  All married couples need to consider setting up medical and financial powers of attorney, simple Wills and/or Living Trusts.  Although you and a new spouse will have the right to make medical decisions for one another, if you do not have a medical power of attorney or advanced directive, your spouse, parents, adult children and siblings will all have an equal say.  A medical power of attorney allows you to specifically identify who you choose to be your “spokesperson” or advocate if any emergency occurs.  As a married couple, you will also need the right to sign documents on behalf of one another.  What if you need to sell a home, close a bank account, access money from your spouse’s retirement account or sign paperwork to admit a spouse into a nursing home?  A financial power of attorney allows you to name your spouse to act on your behalf in a financial capacity.  The next question is, are your wishes clear as to how you want your assets to pass at death?  Not all married couples hold assets jointly.  In many situations, there are children from a prior marriage or relationship and you may want those children to benefit from your estate along with your new spouse.  It is important to have at least a simple will, if not a Living Trust, to address distribution of assets at death.  Both of these documents allow you to make your wishes known at the time of your death.  If this is a new relationship and a new marriage, it is even more important to visit each of these issues, along with updating beneficiary designations.

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