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Same-sex couples need to create estate planning documents

By now, everyone who reads this blog is likely familiar with the recommendation that everyone create an estate plan. For same-sex couples, it is vitally important to follow this advice. Texas residents might be interested in knowing why this is so important.

You probably already know that you should create an estate plan or update the estate plan if you have recently moved into Texas, become engaged or married, had a child or started a new job. These major life events might mean that you want to name new beneficiaries to your will or trusts that you have created.

For a same-sex couple, an estate plan can help to ensure that your assets will go to your significant other when you pass away. Some aspects of estate planning, such as creating durable powers of attorney or durable powers of attorney for health care can help to ensure that your significant other can participate in your health care decisions and care for your finances if you aren't able to do so yourself.

Until the rights of same-sex couples are recognized equally across the nation, same-sex couples are especially vulnerable to problems with estate issues if a proper estate plan isn't established. For this reason, it is very important that people who are in same-sex relationships work to get an estate plan created that will be legally recognized when it is needed. Understanding the specific laws that apply to your situation is necessary to ensure that your estate plan clearly conveys your desires. Even if you already have an estate plan, you should review it to make sure that it still conveys your wishes.

Source: Human Rights Campaign, "The Importance of Life & Estate Planning" No author given, Jun. 12, 2014

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