4 minute read

Important Legal Implications to Consider While Transitioning

Transitioning is a life changing moment that requires your attention, including to the legal implications it may have. Keep reading to learn more.

If you are considering finally making the monumental decision of transitioning, congratulations! This is a choice we know is not made lightly and will change your life in both incredible and challenging ways. When it comes to transitioning, there are many legal implications that you will want to keep at the forefront of your mind in order to protect yourself. For example, your legal documents—such as your license and social security card—and your estate planning documents may need to be updated in the event that you choose to legally transition your gender. 

At Trust & Will, a leader in online estate planning services, we understand just how important transitioning is to your overall life satisfaction. Because of this, we are dedicated to helping make your transition journey as smooth as possible. Transitioning is a challenging and exciting time in and of itself, however, changing your legal documents as well as your Estate Plan can sometimes add unnecessary stress during this life-changing moment. At Trust & Will, we can help simplify the process of keeping your Estate Plan up-to-date so you can get on with enjoying your life. 

Keep reading to learn more about these specific documents you will want to update, and the measures you may want to take to safeguard your assets and important health care preferences going forward:

  • Licenses, Social Security Cards, Passports, and More

  • Wills

  • Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy Documents

  • Finding a Lawyer

Licenses, Social Security Cards, Passports, and More

When you’ve made the decision to go forward with gender transitioning, the first step that you will want to take is changing your legal documents. When it comes to updating these documents to reflect your new gender, you will first want to change your birth certificate to reflect both your new legal name if you have changed it, as well as your gender. Once your birth certificate has been updated, it will be easier to go about obtaining the remainder of your legal documents to align to your birth certificate, as often you may petition the court to change these documents all at once.

In order to change your name and gender on your birth certificate, you will want to carefully research the specific guidelines within your state, as each one will have different regulations for how you should go about changing these legal documents. In some states, you will need to submit a petition to the court to change your birth certificate, and therefore be able to change your gender and name on your license, passport, social security card, and elsewhere. However, this is not the case in every state. For example, in California, you do not need the court’s approval to change your gender and name on legal documents. Again, it will be important to research the rules for your specific state. 


Once you have made the legal transition of your name and your gender, it will be important to change this information in your Will as well. Your Will is a legal document that allows you to leave your assets to your loved ones, such as your car, house, bank account, or property. This will help to ensure that the information you’ve included in your Will is not contestable. It is an unfortunate possibility that there may be family members who may not agree with your lifestyle decisions and who may try to contest your Will and other aspects of your Estate Plan after your death. By ensuring that all of your Estate Plan documents are in order, you will be able to mitigate this risk and protect yourself.

When it comes to gender changes, you are not the only one who should update your Will. It will also be important for your loved ones, such as your spouse and parents, to update their Wills as well to reflect your new gender status and name if you had it changed. This will help minimize confusion and uncertainty should you be incorrectly named as a Beneficiary to someone else’s Estate. For those with children who have transitioned, you can either update your Will to their new name and pronouns, or you can skip the stress entirely by referring to them only as your child and not in reference to their gender. This option is especially helpful if your child is still in the process of transitioning but has not yet changed their legal identification documents.

Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy Documents 

More estate planning documents you may want to update are your Power of Attorney documents and your Health Care Proxy documents. Your Power of Attorney documents are legal forms that identify who you have chosen to be in charge of your finances in the event that you cannot take care of them yourself. Your Health Care Proxy documents are documents that indicate who will be in charge of your health care decisions in the event that you can no longer make health and medical care decisions on your own behalf. 

It is an unfortunate possibility that once you choose to transition, there may be people in your life who do not agree with your choice, including those who are close to you. If you have transitioned or are planning to, and feel it would be best to choose a new Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy who better understands your needs and goals, don’t hesitate to do so. Choosing someone you trust who will advocate for you when you can no longer advocate for yourself, is an important decision to make, and should be given careful consideration. 

Finding a Lawyer 

A safe bet when making these additional changes to your legal documents is to speak to a lawyer that has experience with transgender individuals who need to change their legal identification documents. A Lawyer will be able to help make sure that you are adhering to the requirements of your state and that you are able to protect yourself and your Estate Plan. They will be able to examine your documents and know what changes need to be made. 

Gender transitioning is a monumental moment in your life that deserves care and attention on many levels. At Trust & Will creating your state-specific Estate Plan online is an affordable and easy option for asset and health care protection. With our online estate planning services, you can get started today by creating a comprehensive and a customized Estate Plan - including your customized Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Nomination of Guardianship documents.

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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.


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