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Same-sex couples and estate planning

There are a number of benefits estate planning can provide to Nevada residents. However, same-sex couples may be presented with certain situations that may require more careful consideration.

If estranged same-sex couples have been previously married, they should verify that the marriage was legally dissolved. Getting married in one state that recognizes same-sex marriages, moving to another state that does not recognize them and then simply separating from the spouse can result in unwanted consequences since assets are generally transferred to a spouse after death unless contrary provisions exist.

Same-sex couples should not end their estate planning with just a will. They should consider completing powers of attorney for their financial matters in case one or both parties become incapacitated. They may also want to consider using trusts, not only so that their beneficiaries can avoid probate, but in case there is an likelihood of conflict regarding the assets after death.

Plans should also be made to ensure that same-sex spouses are able to make medical decisions on behalf of their incapacitated partners. They can document their wishes by completing a health care proxy. There are also living wills, do-not-resuscitate directives and other types of health directives that can be completed as well. Children are another important consideration for estate planning. It may be necessary for same-sex couples to include adoption in the estate planning as usually just one of the parents tends to have a biological link to the child.

An attorney who practices estate planning law may assist couples with creating an estate plan that addresses their concerns about their property and children. The attorney may help with drafting a will or an appropriate trust.

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