When it comes to protecting your rights as a member of the aging LGBT community, you should consider consulting a Cornwall estate planning lawyer who can help you make the right choices. We hear horror stories of lifelong partners who are denied access to one another, who lose their homes, or who don’t have access to inheritance upon the death of their spouse or significant other. Planning in advance can help minimize the chances for these injustices.
There are different ways to protect your partner upon your death:
- Civil Marriage: Same-sex couples in Canada who choose to legally marry have all the same rights as heterosexual couples once they do so.
- Common Law: In Canada, cohabiting same-sex couples have the same rights and privileges as cohabiting heterosexual couples. However, couples who cohabit and are NOT legally married do not have quite the same rights as married couples do. A common law status would make spouses eligible for certain benefits and spousal support.
- Power of Attorney: A Cornwall estate planning lawyer who is familiar with LGBT concerns will likely advise you to go beyond the common law living arrangement by putting powers of attorney in place. These provide even more legal recourse that allows one partner to be responsible for the other in emergencies. There are both Powers of Attorney for Property, dealing with financial matters, and Powers of Attorney for Personal Care, and both may be necessary for full protection.
- Wills: In order to circumvent negative repercussions from family members that are unwilling to deal fairly with a surviving partner, a legal will can be an important legal document. It can also help speed the probate process and help ensure that your affairs are dealt with in a timely manner.
- Beneficiaries: When setting up a bank account or insurance policy, be sure to clearly name your partner as beneficiary. Otherwise, biological family members (or even previous legal spouses) may have rights to the money, leaving your partner out in the cold.
Of course, these are just some of the situations that may need particular attention from members of the LGBT community. There are many, many concerns that need to be considered by all members of the aging generation. Consulting a Cornwall estate planning lawyer is the most efficient and intelligent way to deal with all of these issues.
Ready to get started? Give our office a call at 613-933-7720 and schedule a Peace of Mind Planning Session. These sessions are normally $500, but you can come free with the mention of this article. They are, however, limited to 10 per month so call today!
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Michele R.J. Allinotte is the owner of Journey Law in Cornwall, Ontario and she helps her clients make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses. Her practice focuses on the areas of business law, estate planning and real estate. Visit www.YourCornwallLawyer.com to get her FREE Peace of Mind Personal Inventory to make sure that your family has all the information they need.