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Simple Ways Recently Wed Same-Sex Couples Can Update Their Estate Plans


For recently wed couples and even those who have been legally married for several years, enjoying your present life together is likely to take priority over planning for your future. While it is understandable to not want to contemplate your own death or that of your partner, estate planning helps to make sure any survivors are provided for. Regardless of the amount of property and assets you own, either individually or as a couple, speaking to an experienced estate planning attorney should be a top priority. Prior to your appointment, there are some simple steps you can take on your own to eliminate potential problems while making your spouse’s future more secure.

Three Steps To Take After Marriage

It is hard to believe it has only been two short years since bans against gay marriage were declared unconstitutional. Prior to that time, LGBT couples had to get creative, using special provisions and loopholes in the law to establish living arrangements and to provide benefits for their partners.

Now that the right to marry has been firmly established in all 50 states, same-sex couples are tying the knot in increasing numbers. Unfortunately, it is easy to forget that employee benefit plans, financial accounts, and estate planning documents that were previously carried solo may require updating as well. The following are three simple ways that enable you, as a legally married person, to ensure your spouse is provided in the event of the unexpected:

  1. List your spouse as a beneficiary on all life insurance benefits and pension plans. Under the Florida Probate Court rules, life insurance benefits are not subject to probate proceedings. This means that you can list your spouse as a beneficiary of your account, and any benefits will go directly to them. In addition, remember to make changes in any 401K or pension accounts you have through your employer. In the event of your passing, your spouse can roll them over directly into their own retirement account, which offers tax benefits.
  1. Designate your financial accounts as payable on death. Any individual checking, savings, or other types of accounts you have at financial institutions can be designated as payable on death, with your spouse listed as the beneficiary. This gives them the right to access these accounts in the event of your passing, and to use the money they contain for needed expenses.
  1. Transfer property titles to joint ownership with rights of survivorship. If you previously were the sole owner of property or had a tenancy and common, under Florida property statutes you can change the title to reflect the right of survivorship, which means the property will automatically pass to sole ownership by your spouse in the event of your death.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

To discuss additional changes you may need to make to protect your spouse, such as changes to your will or establishing a legal power of attorney, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A.  Call or request a free consultation online with our experienced Florida estate planning attorney in our Orlando or Tampa office to discuss the options that are right for you.


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