Here are just a sample of the added challenges that LGBT couples and families need to address, preferably with the help of an independent, credentialed expert:
Marry in a Gay-Friendly State?
Even if your state does not recognize same-sex marriage, there may be benefits to traveling to a state that allows visitors to marry there. Although if your marriage certificate may not legally recognized in your home state, it could prove useful in other contexts (e.g., if you plan to conceive or adopt children).
Of course, the law is constantly evolving — which is precisely why you should rely on a full-service professional advisory firm like the Glenchrist Family of Companies.
Manage Finances Separately or as a Couple?
There are benefits and risks to pooling your funds and holding your assets jointly. Just as with a legally recognized opposite-sex marriage, if one spouse brings significantly more assets and income (or, for that matter, debts and expenses), then keeping your finances separate might be a better idea.
Let's face it: Gay couples break up just like straight couples do. LGBT couples might therefore want to enter into the equivalent of a "prenuptial agreement."
A candid discussion of your goals and risk tolerances provides a solid foundation for making these decisions. If you do decide to handle finances as a couple, should this include long-range planning or just short-term activities, such as managing household finances?
Glenchrist Financial LLC, and its affiliates, can help you navigate all these issues. Learn how by setting up your free Get Acquainted Meeting.
Employer Benefits for Domestic Partners
Many employers now offer domestic partner benefits to the unmarried partners of their employees, including health insurance. Before your partner signs up, be aware that the value of the benefits your employer offers to your partner is generally taxable.
While utilizing your employer's benefits for your partner may provide a "feel-good" sense of family, you should first verify that it's the financially smart move. You may find that the additional tax on domestic partner coverage prompts you each to elect your own coverage, if available.
Retirement and Estate Planning
Couples in legally recognized marriages benefit from both the marital exemption of the estate tax and from the intestacy laws. If your relationship isn't legally recognized, then you absolutely need basic marriage replication protection such as wills, living wills and medical powers of attorney. You may also need life insurance to pay estate taxes or other obligations.
The Glenchrist Family of Companies is your one-stop source for all aspects of long-term planning, both financial and legal.
Long-Term Care Insurance for Unmarried Couples
Long-term care insurance can be a key component of a long term plan that provides protection for loved ones. Interestingly, the companies that provide this insurance will give partners living together the same substantial discount whether or not they are married.