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Randy Ratliff
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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

Trusts and Estates Lawyer Based in the Nashville Area

Anyone can benefit from an in-depth conversation with an attorney concerning matters such as wills, trusts, and health care directives, but this is especially true for same-sex couples. Of course, each family’s situation is unique and should be considered accordingly. If your spouse and you need to talk with a knowledgeable Nashville estate planning attorney to discuss your needs, the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, is here to help. Our firm focuses on matters such as trusts and estates, probate, and elder law, working to protect our clients’ hard-earned assets and effectuate their wishes concerning the disbursement of their estate in the years to come. (We also offer free workshops on various topics from time to time, so visit our website for dates and times.)

Since the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry has only been recognized for a few years in the United States, it is not surprising that a relatively low percentage of gay and lesbian couples are married (roughly 10%, as compared to about 50% of adults generally). Depending on where a couple has lived in the past, they may have entered into another type of legal relationship, such as a domestic partnership, registered partnership, civil union, or life partnership. The effect that these partnerships have on matters concerning property rights can vary, so it is important to get individualized advice.

Find the Right Estate Plan for Your Needs as a Same-Sex Couple

Regardless of whether a couple is married or has entered into a legally recognized partnership, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure that the assets of a same-sex couple are passed according to the couple’s wishes. Of course, the appropriate paperwork must be executed in order for a person’s property to pass in a certain manner (especially if the person is single). The estates of people who die without entering into a legal document detailing their estate plan, such as through a will or trust, are divided according to the law of intestate succession. Under this law, spouses, children, and other blood relatives may inherit a deceased person’s property, but a surviving long-term unmarried partner generally has no legal rights to any property that belonged exclusively to a deceased partner.

Children can further complicate matters, especially those from previous relationships or those born to unmarried same-sex couples. Issues can arise not only regarding provisions for minor children but also regarding relationships with adult children when one partner becomes incapacitated such that medical decisions must be made on their behalf by someone else. These situations can be addressed in powers of attorney, living wills, and other documents. Our firm can also assist people who wish to provide for the possibility that one or both partners may need to rely upon Medicaid/TennCare or other government assistance at some time in the future. In many cases, advance planning regarding such matters can help a family retain more assets than would otherwise be allowed. We also handle the probating of estates and the administration of trusts.

Build a Secure Future with the Assistance of an Estate Planning Lawyer in Nashville

At the probate and estate firm of Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we help people in areas such as Nashville, Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs in the preparation of many different types of legal documents aimed at managing wealth and other assets in the event of incapacitation or death. To schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable attorney, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online and arrange for a convenient time to come in and speak with a member of our team about your estate planning, family law, or elder law needs. We also offer advice concerning asset protection and business succession planning for people who are involved in family businesses or closely held companies in Davidson and Williamson Counties.