Thousands of people in Colorado die every year without a will. It is a mistake that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Most people simply assume they have time in the future for estate planning, and anyone can procrastinate for so long that they forget the need to plan entirely.
However, dying without a will can have a far more damaging impact on people in certain circumstances when compared with other scenarios. Those who belong to the LGBT+ community are among those who face a disproportionate degree of risk if they die or have a personal emergency without an escape plan.
Why is estate planning often particularly important for those in the LGBT+ community?
Intestate succession laws don’t protect them well
If someone dies without a will or other estate planning documents, that is an intestate death. Colorado state statutes dictate what happens to their property because they did not leave any instructions. Spouses and children are first in line to inherit from an intestate estate.
Parents and other immediate family members inherit when someone dies without a spouse or children. Particularly if people have become estranged from their closest family members or do not marry, intestate succession laws may not lead to the legacy they would desire for themselves. Proper estate planning allows someone an opportunity to choose their own beneficiaries, from romantic partners the charitable organizations.
Incapacity is also a concern
Health issues can affect anyone, and many people have no protection in the event of a medical emergency. Anyone over the age of 18 cannot rely on their parents or other family members to handle their financial and medical affairs.
They need to draft legally-binding documents appointing someone as their attorney-in-fact to allow them control over their finances or medical decisions. They may also need to create advance directives explaining their medical preferences. LGBT+ adults in Colorado who do not have estate plans could be subject to the current practices of the facility providing their emergency medical care and vulnerable to collection activity after an emergency if no one can handle financial matters on their behalf.
Taking the time to create a thorough Colorado estate plan can benefit people of all backgrounds, including members of the LGBT+ community.