While Estate planning and Asset Protection is essential for everyone, this month, I have stressed why it’s an absolute must for the LGBTQ+ community. In Planning With Pride Part 1, I encouraged you to be proactive about planning, so that you can protect your assets from random family members who may or may not be supportive of your lifestyle, and ensure they are distributed to the person or people you choose. In Planning With Pride Part 2, I told you how important it is to have powers of attorney, burial plans, and other advance directives in place, to prevent a family member who hasn’t been in your life for many years from popping up and start making decisions for you. If you are planning to or have already expanded your family, this week, we are going to focus on one of your most important assets…children.
Consider this scenario:
Susan and Joann were together for over 30 years, since the age of 15. After high school, they decided to move in together. They couldn’t get married, but they knew they wanted a life together. Some years later, they purchased a home in the suburbs and decided to expand their family. After a few rounds of IVF, Joann gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, named Anthony and Scarlett. As far as they were concerned, they were a family. Even after marriage became an option, they decided the institution of marriage was not created for them. Unfortunately, five years later, Joann was in a traumatic car accident, and she did not survive. Susan was now a single mother of five-year-old twins, but she was not biologically or legally related to them. What now?
There are many couples like Joann and Susan. In fact, I know a few of them. LGBTQ+ couples who have decided to expand their family, but have not created an estate plan, and have not considered a second parent adoption. Sadly, if something happens to the biological parent, the child may end up in the wrong hands, and the other parent may not be acknowledged. I share Joann and Susan’s story to illustrate the importance of a comprehensive estate plan and second parent adoption. Without them, the non-biological parent and children remain unprotected. No matter the status of your relationship, if kids are involved, you must take the necessary steps to make your intentions clear. Keep in mind that the best of the children is the most important factor. Keeping your family together and protected IS in their best interest and yours. Pride Month is coming to an end, but we aim to help you plan with pride 365 days a year. If you need to take steps to protect your family, we can help!