couples raising children must stand ready to prove to the world they are a
family, just one that happens to have two mothers or two fathers. This
constant burden of proof is especially difficult for families … who live in a
state that doesn’t allow them to establish legal ties to each other.
“Marriage” is one word that
presents practical problems when it comes to same-sex couples, let alone the
words “family” or “children.”
Take, for example, the legal
complications surrounding same-sex unions as recently explored in The New York Times. The article, titled “A Family With Two Moms, Except
in the Eyes of the Law,” found that many same-sex couples do start
families and do bear children. As a result, very careful estate planning is essential,
especially given current state and federal laws.
For any couple with minor
children, fundamental estate planning focuses on providing backup parents
(i.e., guardians) to raise them and trustworthy stewards to protect their
inheritance. When it comes to same-sex couples, making such provisions for
minor children likely means navigating a dicey web of laws that may (or may
not) tilt in their favor.
To make matters even more
complicated, a simple relocation from one state to another may upset your comprehensive
estate planning and require a top-to-bottom review of your existing estate
In the end, not only must you
fully define your own legal structure, but you must also do so well in advance
and make changes as they inevitably occur in the law and in your life.
Reference: The New York
Times (July 20, 2012) “A Family With Two Moms, Except in the Eyes
of the Law”