For all LGBT couples there is always the concern that if they should die their families will try to contest their wills. With the holidaze season upon us the time is now to honestly assess which of your relatives could make life a living hell for your partner if you are not around to take care of matters. For anyone who has greedy/crazy/psycho relatives some suggestions and strategies to protect your partner and property from their greed.
Joint Tenancy. After the death of one joint tenant, the remaining joint tenant will continue to own the entire property. No probate. One drawback is that if you create a joint tenancy bank account by putting your lover's name on the account, he or she can take all the money and spend it for whatever they want.
Name a Beneficiary. If you name your LGBT partner as beneficiary of your life insurance, IRA and employee benefits - such as 401(k) and pension and profit-sharing plans — that asset won't be subject to probate. It goes directly to the person you name.
Totten Trusts. A Totten trust is simply the name for a kind of bank account where one person deposits money in his or her name as trustee for another. The depositor reserves the power to withdraw all or part of the money at any time. Upon the death of the depositor the money in the bank account is paid to the named beneficiary of the trust.
Lifetime Gifts. Property you give away during your lifetime can't come under the probate court's control. Rather than waiting for death for the transfer of your assets, make gifts while alive so that you can see your life partner, friends family members or charities enjoy the benefit of your gifts. You may have to pay gift taxes and file gift tax returns.
Living Trusts. A revocable living trust is a legal arrangement where a person executes a written trust document naming themselves as the trustee of their own trust and while alive they transfer their property to their trust so that the trust holds legal title to all their assets. The living trust acts like a will and dispose of the maker's property upon death. There is less chance of a lawsuit by family members to contest a living trust than there would be with a will.