Estate planning lawyers make a living drafting documents that provide for the efficient and effective transfer of assets to your loved ones in accordance with your wishes, so we certainly recommend careful advance planning. But the fact is that there are logical rules of descent in place that would hold sway if you were to pass away intestate or without a will. Once the probate court sorted things out your property would go to your closest relative or relatives according to these generally accepted legal descent principles.
The most fundamental descent principle allows for your spouse to assume ownership of your property after you pass away even if there is no will in place. If you are involved in a same-sex partnership you may face greater difficulties. While same sex marriage is valid and respected in Connecticut and several other states, that union is not going to be recognized in most states. So for gay couples estate planning is especially important because they’re not protected by even the most basic of legal standards if they leave Connecticut.
Aside from executing the documents that will direct the distribution of your assets after you pass away, same-sex couples should also address the issue of incapacity planning. Once again, gay partnerships are not recognized by the law in most other jurisdictions so if you were to become unable to make medical or financial decisions for yourself at some point in time outside of Connecticut your partner would not be automatically empowered to do so.
For this reason you would want to execute a durable medical power of attorney and a durable financial power of attorney. By so doing your partner or whoever you may choose would be legally empowered to make decisions in your behalf should you become unable to do so for yourself.
The bottom line is that committed gay couples absolutely must have an estate plan in place.The best way to make sure that all of your bases are covered is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who has a background constructing estate plans for same-sex couples.