Estate planning attorneys around the country will always emphasize how important it is for gay couples to plan ahead because they have no protections under state intestacy laws of succession.
Unmarried committed couples would have no rights with regard to medical decision-making on behalf of domestic partners either. But since gay marriage is legal here in New York we don’t have to worry about estate planning, right?
The answer is a resounding no. First of all, do you think a heterosexual married couple should have an estate plan in place? Of course they should, and things are no different for same-sex couples on this level. And in addition to the financial details, which are considerable and quite important, there are incapacity contingencies to consider as well.
For example, different people have different ideas about the use of artificial life support systems. Whether you are married or single, gay or straight you should be proactive about expressing your preferences via the of the execution of a living will.
Plus, you never know how things will play out in the future. Gay marriages were legal in California for a while and then things suddenly changed.
The bottom line is this: If you are in a long-term committed relationship, whether you are legally married at the moment or not, you need to have an estate plan in place. The intelligent first step is to arrange for a consultation with a Long Island estate planning attorney who has a background assisting same-sex domestic partners.