Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

In 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation, giving same-sex couples the same legal rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. Even with these rights, there are some situations involving children that are inherently more complicated with same-sex couples than heterosexual couples.

When it comes to estate planning, there are five key documents that you should discuss with a trusted estate planning attorney to protect you, your spouse, and your children in case of an unexpected tragedy.

Last Will and Testament

Your Will provides instructions on how to distribute your assets after your death. Without a Will, your assets will be distributed based on the Florida Intestacy laws, which may not be how you would like them to be distributed, especially if you have children from a prior relationship, have a child that you are not biologically related to, or have a life partner but not a legally married spouse. In particular, if your spouse / life partner is the biological parent of your child and you are not, you may want to speak with an attorney about adopting the child, so legally there is no doubt that the child is yours when it comes to estate plans.

If you currently have minor children, your Will should provide details on who you would like to appoint as your child’s guardian and backup guardian in the event of your untimely death. Before listing the guardian and back-up guardian in your legal paperwork, you should talk with them to make sure they are comfortable taking on this responsibility and that they would be willing and able to raise your children in a manner consistent with your wishes. 


Depending on the specifics of your financial situation, your attorney may also recommend establishing a Revokable Trust for your assets in addition to a Last Will and Testament. A Trust is a powerful tool that can enable your assets to avoid going through the Probate courts, minimize your estate’s tax burden, and speed the process of distributing your assets and closing your estate. Additionally, if your spouse is not biologically related to your child and is unable to adopt them, creating a Trust with certain provisions can help your spouse stay in contact with them.  

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is someone you designate to make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. It’s important that the person you designate share your views on healthcare and is someone that you can literally trust with your life. Most people designate their spouse or life partner for this.

Financial Power of Attorney

Similar to the Healthcare Power of Attorney, the Financial Power of Attorney gives the person of your choosing the power to access your finances and make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. They can access your bank accounts, investments, and pay your bills. Most couples select their spouse or life partner for this role as well.

Living Will

A Living Will lets your treating physicians know your wishes about life support in the event you become incapacitated and cannot communicate them yourself.  While you can entrust the person you designated as your Healthcare Power of Attorney to make these decisions for you, having a Living Will removes the emotional burden of this decision from that individual and can make an already-challenging situation easier for your family.

While some same-sex couples face more complex challenges with estate planning than heterosexual couples, by working with an estate planning attorney well-versed in these issues, you can rest assured that your final wishes will be legally protected in the event tragedy strikes. Huth, Pratt, and Milhauser is a Boca Raton-based law firm that specializes in estate planning. Contact us today to learn how can help you protect your loved ones.  

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser is a boutique law firm that offers a wide range of legal services in the specialty areas of wills, trusts, estates, probate, guardianship, and related matters. The range of legal services that Huth, Pratt & Milhauser provides in these specialty areas includes planning, administration and litigation. The experience and skills of our attorneys and staff, coupled with our knowledge of applicable law, enable us to provide outstanding representation to our clients.

Although we are located in South Florida, we proudly serve clients throughout the country and around the world from our Boca Raton offices. We strive to provide superior and focused counsel in a timely manner and at a competitive price.

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460

Boca Raton, Florida   33431

Phone: 561-392-1800

2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460
Boca Raton, Florida   33431
Phone: 561-392-1800

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