Same-Sex Marriage: Implications on Estate Planning

It is now “The Law of the Land” that same-sex marriages are legal.  This means that your same-sex spouse, unlike a same-sex partner, has certain rights to your property when you die.

In Florida, same-sex spouses are entitled to inherit a certain percentage of your estate and have rights to your homestead property even if your Will says otherwise.

For this reason, it is important to consult with an attorney before the marriage takes place.  It is possible to enter into a prenuptial agreement to avoid unintended consequences.  If the marriage has already taken place, an attorney can help you prepare a post-marriage agreement.

A same-sex marriage is a sensible time to review the arrangements you have made in all of your estate planning documents.  This is a good time to reconsider who you will appoint as your substitute decision maker for financial and health decisions if you become incapacitated.

In Florida, if you do NOT have a valid Advance Medical Directive, then your spouse will be your decision maker by default.  For some families, the new spouse is not always the best person for the job.



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