The Importance of Estate Planning for LGBT Couples

You probably know that Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages, and that domestic partners have been granted no specific rights under Tennessee state law, either, as of early 2015. While this has many implications for LGBT individuals and partners, it definitely makes thorough estate planning even more essential than it is for married women and men.

Essentially, your partner may have no rights at all in regard to your shared property and assets if you die without the proper documents in place stating otherwise. If you are in an accident or suffer an illness that prevents you from making your own decisions, your partner may have no say about your treatment. At Rogers, Kamm & Shea, we can guide you through all the steps needed to correct these problems.

Put Documents in Place That Protect You and Your Life Partner

We cannot anticipate future legislative actions, but our lawyers will help you create a solid, comprehensive estate plan that accounts for a wide range of situations. Every responsible adult, of any sexual orientation, should have a basic, up-to-date will. A few other documents are critical for almost everyone, as well. These include:

  • A durable power of attorney designating the person you trust most to make decisions on your behalf if you die or become incapacitated
  • A living will (sometimes called an advance care plan or advance directive) documenting your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical interventions in the event of incapacity or a last illness
  • An appointment of surrogate, appointment of health care agent (proxy), or comparable document assigning medical decision-making on your behalf to your partner

Focused, Attentive Counsel to Develop the Optimal Documents for You

Although you may also want to create a domestic partnership agreement if you are in a committed relationship, this is no substitute for customized estate planning. If you have substantial wealth and can benefit from trust formation or other advanced planning tools, our estate law and probate attorneys are well-equipped to fulfill these needs as well.

Please do not depend only on forms obtained through an online legal help source or other public resource to protect you or your partner. Estate planning for gay, lesbian and other LGBT couples and individuals — with or without children — is simply too important to take that risk. Instead, schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers in Nashville or Franklin.