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Estate planning is yet another financial concern for LGBT couples

Winning the right to marry was only the beginning of the journey that many same-sex couples have taken in recent years. The rest of the world still works on the designs created for heterosexual couples as evidenced by the issues that LGBT couples encounter when they divorce.

The financial world is another place where same-sex couples continue to encounter challenges. When planning your financial lives, you and your spouse still need to carefully craft your estate plans in order to ensure that each of you receives the appropriate protections after the other's death.

Everyone needs to feel financially secure

Taking care of each other is part of your marital bond. You want to make sure that you can do so under any circumstances. This includes incapacitation or death. It would be easy to believe that since you are now married your spouse will make your decisions if you become incapacitated, and all of your assets will go to him or her automatically. However, it could be a mistake to put your faith in these notions. Ensuring financial security for both of you requires a two-pronged process of estate planning.

First, health care and financial powers of attorney make sure that your spouse can make decisions for you if you fall ill or suffer injuries serious enough to render you unable to make your own decisions. Of course, you don't have to choose your spouse to fulfill these roles if he or she doesn't think it possible to do so under this type of stress. Without these documents, your spouse could end up fighting with other family members for the right to take care of you, and vice versa.

Next, you need to determine how you would like your assets distributed after you pass away. Without at least a will, you lose control of this process. The state of New York would make those decisions for you. If you happen to have children from a prior relationship, you may want to make sure they receive certain assets as well. If you put your wishes on paper, you decrease the likelihood of confrontations among your surviving loved ones.

Getting it done right

You will have numerous choices when it comes to designing your estate plan, and you may seek help figuring out what combination of documents will work best for your situation. Thereafter, you need to ensure the documents comply with current law in their language and execution. This helps make sure that they remain valid when needed.

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