Cornwall and area LBGTQ2S+ folks, relationships and estate planning
Cornwall estate planning lawyer, Michele R.J. Allinotte, offers some thoughts for an aging LGBT community and how partners can protect each other in the event of death or incapacity.
When it comes to protecting your rights as a member of the aging LGBTQ2S+ community, you should consider consulting a Cornwall estate planning lawyer who can help you make the right choices. At Journey Law, we are welcoming, non-judgmental and use inclusive language in our documents.
We hear horror stories of lifelong partners who are denied access to one another, who lose their homes, or who don’t have access to inheritance upon the death of their spouse or significant other. Planning in advance can help minimize the chances for these injustices.
There are different ways to protect your partner upon your death:
- Civil Marriage: Same-sex couples in Canada who choose to legally marry have all the same rights as heterosexual couples once they do so.
- Common Law: In Canada, cohabiting same-sex couples have the same rights and privileges as cohabiting heterosexual couples. However, couples who cohabit and are NOT legally married do not have quite the same rights as married couples do. A common law status would make spouses eligible for certain benefits and spousal support.
- Power of Attorney: A Cornwall estate planning lawyer who is familiar with LGBTQ2S+ concerns will likely advise you to go beyond the common law living arrangement by putting powers of attorney in place. These provide even more legal recourse that allows one partner to be responsible for the other in emergencies. There are both Powers of Attorney for Property, dealing with financial matters, and Powers of Attorney for Personal Care, and both may be necessary for full protection.
- Wills: In order to circumvent negative repercussions from family members that are unwilling to deal fairly with a surviving partner, a will can be an important legal document. It can also help speed the probate process and help ensure that your affairs are dealt with in a timely manner.
- Beneficiaries: When setting up a bank account or insurance policy, be sure to clearly name your partner as beneficiary. Otherwise, biological family members (or even previous legal spouses) may have rights to the money, leaving your partner out in the cold. Also consider if you need to change names of beneficiaries on assets or in legal document if a loved one changes their name.
Of course, these are just some of the situations that may need particular attention from members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. There are many, many concerns that need to be considered by all members of the aging generation. Consulting a Cornwall estate planning lawyer is the most efficient and intelligent way to deal with all of these issues.