MARRY? DO WHAT
YOU CAN DO AND DO IT NOW.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has delivered an important ruling related
to same gender marriage. For the
moment, that ruling is not likely to change most of our lives no matter where we
live. Reflect on this news as a
wake up call. There is some
protection that you get automatically from marriage but there is also protection
you can arrange for today. Consider
getting your personal legal and financial life in order so that you can have
peace of mind. Do you need to write
or revise a will or power of attorney, make plans for children or a surviving
partner, or finally get serious about retirement planning?
Start with the basics and be sure to get it done.
None of us can be confident of what might happen in our lives tomorrow.
None of us should wait for the courts or legislatures to take action for
us. There are steps you can and
should be taking whether you are in a relationship or are single.
achieving financial peace of mind is one of your goals, what are the things you
need to know? While entire books can Ė and have Ė been written on financial
planning for our community, there are a few high-level themes you should keep in
if youíre in a relationship, remember that you canít take anything for
granted. If youíre engaged in retirement planning, your partner canít rely
on your Social Security benefits. Some benefits from your employerís
retirement plan may also be unavailable to your partner. Other benefits will
require careful planning to maximize withdrawals and avoid potential tax traps.
Itís also important to be sure that youíve designated your partner as a
beneficiary on your retirement plans.
your personal economy includes estate planning strategies, the pitfalls are
numerous. In addition to wills to ensure property goes to your partner as you
intend, youíll need to think about powers of attorney to be sure your partner
can make decisions if you cannot. Youíll want a priority of visitation to
ensure he or she has access to you if you become incapacitated. There are
special actions you need to take in some states for you to manage the burial
arrangements of your partner. You
may also have to take a closer look at estate taxes, factoring in state tax laws
and the implications of the recent federal tax law changes.
buying or revising insurance policies is part of your planning, be sure they
offer the protection you think they do. Auto and homeowners insurance doesnít
always provide the coverage same gender couples need Ė especially if only one
partnerís name is on the deed or car title. In the life insurance arena, be
sure the right partner owns the insurance, and that the policy is purchased from
a firm that recognizes a same gender partnerís ďinsurable interestĒ in the
life of the insured.
be mindful of your own attitudes toward financial planning. Historically the
process may not have been very lgbt-friendly. However, the process continues to
improve and many progressive financial institutions recognize the specific needs
of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender clients, and have designed unique products and services to meet
those needs. Moreover, larger social forces continue to shift more of the
responsibility for financial planning to the individual Ė from retirement
plans to health insurance to estate taxes, the social impact continues to
change. So itís up to you to plan
for a secure retirement, assure your income stream is protected in the event of
disability, make arrangements for children and to manage your investment
portfolio. While you canít manage all the components of your personal economy
alone, you also canít assume someone else will do it for you.
now that you know that the rules can be different, make sure you have a
qualified financial advisor who does too. Itís clear there are a lot of
details to consider when planning financially for gay and lesbian clients.
So itís essential to find a professional advisor who will treat you
with respect, who you can trust with your personal information and who is
knowledgeable about the potential issues and differences you will face.
Itís also important that your advisor works closely with financial
institutions that are sensitive to the needs of the lesbian and gay community,
and whose products reflect that sensitivity.
We all deserve this for ourselves and we owe it to the loved ones in our
lives who care about and depend on us.
is a Financial Advisor with American Express Financial Advisors based in
Minneapolis, MN and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of his specialties is
comprehensive financial planning for gay and lesbian individuals and couples.
Daniel L. Boyer has a website
and can be found online at http://gayfinancialadvisors.com/Minnesota.htm
Express Financial Advisors Inc.
Member NASD. American Express Company is separate from
American Express Financial Advisors Inc. and is not a broker-dealer.