When same-sex couples become parents, regardless of where they live, they frequently are well-advised to establish strong legal relationships to bolster parental ties to their children. Take, for example, the legal complications surrounding same-sex unions as recently explored in The New York Times. The article, titled “A Family With Two Moms, Except in the Eyes of the Law,” found that many same-sex couples do start families and do bear children. As a result, very careful estate planning is essential, especially given current state and federal laws. For any couple with minor children, fundamental estate planning focuses on providing backup parents (i.e., guardians) to raise them and trustworthy stewards to protect their inheritance. When it comes to same-sex couples, making such provisions for minor children likely means navigating a dicey web of laws that may (or may not) tilt in their favor. To make matters even more complicated, a simple relocation from one state to another may upset your comprehensive estate planning and require a top-to-bottom review of your existing estate plans. In the end, not only must you fully define your own legal structure, but you must also do so well in advance and make changes as they inevitably occur in the law and in your life.
Reference: The New York Times (July 20, 2012) “A Family With Two Moms, Except in the Eyes of the Law”