Do You Need an LGBT Will and Trust Attorney?
October 13, 2017
Wills and trusts are essential tools that help you prepare for the unexpected. They allow you to rest at ease knowing that should something happen to you, your loved ones will not have to worry about putting your affairs in order.
These important documents can be as complex or as simple as you’d like, depending on your goals. Our Los Angeles-based attorneys are experts at crafting strong LGBT wills and trusts, and in this post we’ll cover some of the basics as you’re considering whether to hire an attorney.
Comparing wills and trusts
Both wills and trust are generally part of a broader estate plan. An estate plan is a set of documents that spells out what happens to your assets, finances, dependents, health care, and more, upon your incapacitation or death.
Wills provide instructions for what to do with your assets after your death. They also determine who should care for your dependents. In California, wills require two witnesses to be legally binding. Wills can also be amended, so long as you follow the proper procedures. Lastly, wills are not enacted until you pass away, at which time the “executor” (whom you name in the will) ensures that the stipulations in your will are carried out according to your wishes.
Trusts also provide instructions for how to handle your affairs, but there are several important ways that they differ from wills. The first is that you can create what is called a living trust, which can actively manage your estate even if you are still alive. This is particularly important in case you are incapacitated due to an accident or illness. Trusts vary by type, depending on whether you are concerned about protecting your assets from certain risks, how accessible you would like your assets to be, your tax planning needs, and to whom you are passing your assets on to. Trusts can either be revocable (meaning you can update it) or irrevocable (meaning it cannot be changed). Though trusts have some unique benefits, they do require active management, and can at times be costly. Additionally, you will most likely want a will as well, to manage those assets that are difficult or impossible to pass over to others while you are still living.
Who needs a will and a trust?
Wills and trusts are particularly important for those with assets, even modest ones. If you have savings, a house, property, vehicles, investments, or other assets, you should consider setting up a will or trust.
They are also important for people with dependents, whether you have children, are responsible for grandchildren or other relatives, or care for someone with special needs.
Why are wills and trusts important to the LGBT community?
Generally speaking, the LGBT community is legally more vulnerable to changing and weak legislation regarding their rights. Though LGBT marriage is now legal nation-wide, many laws regarding other rights are still hazy and continuously evolving. You can think of estate planning, including wills and trusts as similar to “insurance policies” for your assets that will safeguard you and your loved ones. They are also critical for parents, as documented discrimination against LGBT folks still exists when it comes to custody.
Why consider the Gay Family Law Center?
Our expert attorneys don’t just specialize in wills and trusts; we are also strong advocates for the Los Angeles LGBT community. With our knowledge, experience, and advocacy, we will work with you to build strong wills and trusts to help ensure that you and your family are well protected.