Virginia LGBTQ Estate Planning Lawyer

Creating a plan for your assets after you pass away is not a task that should be left until you are older. People of all ages can benefit from estate planning, especially if you have children. Creating a will, trust, or establishing procedures for what you want if you become disabled or incapacitated can give your family peace of mind no matter what happens.

Planning your estate is important if you are in an LGBTQ relationship, especially if you are not married to your partner. While married couples can take advantage of traditional spousal privileges, unmarried partners may need to take additional steps to protect their loved ones after their death. Get started today by contacting a Virginia LGBTQ estate planning lawyer. A dedicated estate planning lawyer can help you make the decision that is right for you,

Understanding Estate Planning in Virginia

Even though it might be unpleasant to contemplate, death is a certainty. After a person dies, everything that an individual owns becomes part of his or her estate which may then be inherited by that person’s relatives.

When a person dies intestate, meaning they did not have a will, any property owned by the decedent alone will be distributed to that person’s lineal heirs, often a spouse, children, or other surviving relatives. Each person’s share will depend on the number of family members who survive the decedent and their relationship to that person.

For example, if a person dies with children but no spouse, the children will inherit everything. If the person dies with no spouse and no children, the decedent’s parents will inherit the estate. See Va. Code Ann. §64.2-200. If this is not the distribution that an individual wants after they die, they must take steps to plan their estate accordingly.

Creating a Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is the cornerstone of any estate plan. The person who creates the will (the testator) can use the document to choose who will receive their assets and how much property each person will receive after the testator’s death. The testator may also create several types of trusts within their Last Will and Testament to hold assets for a specific purpose.

Some types of assets cannot be distributed via a will. For example, property owned in joint tenancy will transfer to the surviving joint tenant by operation of law. In addition, married people in Virginia are allowed to elect against their spouse’s estate after death, to claim their statutory spousal share even if the Last Will and Testament differs.

Choosing a Revocable Living Trust

Unlike a testamentary trust created in a will, the grantor creates a revocable living trust while still alive. A living trust allows a grantor to retain control of their assets during life and to transfer control to a new trustee upon death without needing to go through the probate process.

An essential part of creating a living trust is making sure to transfer and title assets and property into the name of the trust. Failing to transfer assets to the trust legally could result in the property being distributed through the probate process and the grantor’s will. Not all assets are good candidates to use for funding a trust. It may be helpful to speak with an Estates and Trusts attorney in Virginia to asset with a plan for distribution.

Deciding Advanced Directives and Powers of Attorney

An advanced directive allows a person to make future health care decisions for themselves if they become incapacitated in the future. A person creating an advanced directive can choose another person to make medical decisions on their behalf or can write out instructions about the type of care that they want or do not want. Similarly, a person can create various types of powers of attorney which authorize another person to make financial, medical, or other daily decisions on behalf of the grantor.

Managing Special Trusts

People planning their estates in Virginia can also choose to incorporate several types of trusts that manage assets for a particular purpose into their estate plan. For instance, grantors can create a special needs trust that cares for disabled children or other relatives, or a charitable trust that benefits a qualified organization.

Talk to a Virginia LGBTQ Estate Planning Attorney Today

Planning for your family’s needs after you pass away is an important task that you should not be put off indefinitely. Take the first step in securing your family’s future and ensure that your assets are distributed how you want by contacting a Virginia LGBTQ estate planning lawyer today.