For Georgia’s LGBT Community

Will you be shut out when your partner really needs you? In Georgia, without proper  planning in place, you very well may be. If a member of the LGBT community fails to  properly plan, the result can be devastating to his or her partner and family.  Estate planning is not just for the old, or for the wealthy. Nor is it just about what happens to your property after you die. Actually, much of estate planning is about detailing who is empowered to help make key decisions for you during your life.

For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and couples in Georgia, the need for an estate plan is important for many reasons:

  • Georgia law does not recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere. Nor does Georgia law afford the numerous legal preferences to same-sex couples that it does for married opposite-sex couples.
  • Georgia courts will hear disputes between members of a same sex couple on a contract law basis, but  cannot do so on a family law basis. This means that absent a written domestic partnership agreement  detailing each partner’s responsibilities, you have no access to Georgia courts to protect your rights.
  •  If you don’t plan, Georgia has a default estate plan for you about a HUGE list of important decisions,  including: Who will make decisions about the healthcare you receive and how your financial affairs will  be managed if you are incapacitated, whether your partner has the right to access or visit you in the  hospital, who can visit any children who are not biologically yours, who can serve as the Executor of your estate and distribute property after your death, and even who is able to claim your body.

My guide, “Estate Planning for Georgia’s LGBT Community” details how smart planning can help you address each of these concerns in  ways that protects your relationship and your family of choice, and thus ensure that your wishes are carried out.

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