Creating a gender inclusive Estate Plan is a vital step in ensuring that your loved ones are able to inherit your assets when you pass away. Your assets can include anything from homes to cars, bank accounts, art, jewelry, and more. Talking about your Estate Plan can be a difficult topic to discuss, as no one likes to think about their eventual passing. However, it is an important matter that can help safeguard your assets, and also document your guardianship, medical, and financial management preferences. To protect your loved ones from having to go through unnecessary legal battles, during a stressful event - such as a medical crisis or death, it is always best to prepare an Estate Plan sooner rather than later.
At Trust & Will, the leader in online state-specific Estate Planning, it is easy and convenient for those in the LGBTQ community to create a comprehensive and customized Estate Plan that fits their specific needs and goals. If you are a part of a gender inclusive family and want an Estate Plan that will protect your transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming family members - and yourself, Trust & Will has you covered!
Trust & Will‘s online estate planning services can help you navigate the complicated waters of estate planning while remaining gender inclusive and responsive to the specific needs of your family. We understand how important it is to care and protect your loved ones now and, in the future, and to ensure that all of your assets end up with your intended Beneficiaries - and without any added court proceedings. To this end, we have created a list of gender inclusive estate planning tips:
Remove Gender Pronouns from All Documents
Make Sure Legal Names are Used on All Documents
Check for Clarity in All Statements
Re-evaluate Who Is to be Included Within Your Estate Plan
Remove Gender Pronouns from All Documents
The first tip that you may want to initiate is the removal of all pronouns from all documents within your Estate Plan. This is a crucial step if you have a child who has chosen to be referred to by their most current legal pronouns, whether they are transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming. Their old pronouns may currently be listed in your Estate Plan, which can cause confusion, legal issues, and costly court delays up the road. When the pronouns listed in your Estate Plan documents do not match the pronouns your child is currently using, your Estate Plan could end up being contested within the court of law. This means if you have family members who do not agree with your child’s choices, or the assets that you chose to leave them, they may seek legal loopholes to contest your Will and other Estate Plan documents. This can cause unneeded conflict, hurt, and expense that your child does not deserve. You can do your best to prevent this from happening by ensuring the correct gender pronouns are consistently used throughout the document.
Now, what do you do if your child/Beneficiary is still figuring out their pronouns, but acknowledges that they are no longer comfortable with the pronouns they grew up with? Or, maybe you'd prefer to be cautious early on in your child’s life just in case they later decide to change their pronouns. The most preemptive solution in this matter is to remove the use of pronouns entirely from your Estate Plan and only refer to your Beneficiaries (or appointed representatives) by their name, or simply as your child or heir.
Make Sure the Correct Names Are Being Used Across All Documents
It is possible that along your child’s journey to live their true identity, they may change their name. If this occurs, you will want to take the time to review your Estate Plan documents and update their name to their new legal name. This again can help circumvent any confusion that may result in court when it comes time to pass on your assets to the correct Beneficiary. It is also important for other documents to be updated, such as Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney documents, which are documents that allow you to legally transfer the responsibility of your health and finances to another person in the event that you are in a coma or other medical state that leaves you incapable of making decisions for yourself. If any of your documents incorrectly list the name of those you have chosen to represent you, other family members could try to step in to contest the document - which can delay the process of enacting the directives you stated in your Estate documents.
In light of the need to change either names or pronouns within your Estate Plan, it’s a good idea to review the overall clarity of your documents. By double-checking your Estate Plan for conciseness and making sure that loopholes and gaps are not present, you will be able to provide an extra layer of protection to your family members by making it harder for others to misrepresent or contest your wishes in court.
Re-evaluate Who Is Included Within Your Estate Plan
While we know how proud you are of your child regardless of their gender identity, it is an unfortunate reality that there may be others in your life who do not agree with your family’s lifestyle decisions. Unfortunately, this may lead to family ties that may be severely altered or severed, causing you to no longer trust certain family members the way that you used to. In light of this, you may also want to re-evaluate your Estate Plan in order to protect your family. This means that you may want to change certain beneficiaries within your Will or Trust, and it may also mean that you want to re-evaluate who you have appointed as your Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. gender-inclusive
Creating an Estate Plan that is gender inclusive will protect your loved ones in the long run, regardless of whether you are making the changes after the fact or as a preemptive measure for your children. At Trust & Will, we strive to make creating a customized and state-specific Estate Plan as easy as possible for our LGBTQ community. With our easy-to-navigate online estate planning website, you can complete your Will, Trust-Based Estate Plan and other important documents today!
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