SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
Reading Help       Font Size  
Get Email Updates
SAGE In the News

August 24, 2017

7 Ways Queer People Can Have A Grand Encore And Leave An Award Winning Legacy

By John Schneider and David Auten
We’re getting a lot of emails from readers concerned about the prospects of their financial security and same-sex marriages under the Trump Administration. As Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Brian Thompson of Brian Thompson Financial, says, “With so much uncertainty as to what the future holds for our marriage and civil rights, you need a comprehensive financial plan.”

Below we outline extra precautions to include in your comprehensive queer money plan to protect you and your partner or spouse, especially at the end of your lives, to make sure your shows end well.

Retire better

According to a SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) study, there are currently three million LGBTQ people in America who are over the age of 55. Ten thousand people, LGBTQ and straight, will turn 65 years old every day until 2030.

This growing population of LGBTQ retirees and older people is concerning for the queer community. That is because of the leading concern of queer individuals.

In its 2012 LGBTQ Financial Experience Study, Prudential asked queer respondents about their biggest financial concern. The most common response was “retirement.” To make matters worse, LGBTQ respondents to Prudential’s 2016-2017 Study were “less likely to have started saving or investing for retirement . . . than those surveyed in 2012.”

Additionally, MassMutual’s 2016 Lasting Legacy Survey showed, six in ten queer adults (62%) don’t have a will. Two in five (39%) queer adults admit that they haven’t documented important financial information, such as beneficiaries, healthcare proxies, and locations of wills and trust documents.

For our financial security and our families’ peace of mind, let’s change that.

Establish a joint tenant with rights of survivorship

With your partner or spouse, put your assets in a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship, also known as Joint Tenancy. Joint tenancy means that when one partner or spouse passes away, the other automatically and wholly owns of all their assets under the Joint Tenancy. A Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship gives legal protection from other parties’, such as surviving parents or siblings, claims to your assets.

Take a lesson from Tom Doyle of New York City. Because the proper legal measures weren’t taken, including marriage, Doyle may be evicted from the West Village home he and his partner, Bill Cornwell, lived in for 55 years. Doyle and Cornwell didn’t sign the legal documents that would’ve made them both equal owners of Cornwell’s house. Now Cornwell’s nieces and nephew are trying to take possession of their home.

Common law marriage may save Doyle, as marriage would have, but a Joint Tenancy would’ve provided extra protection should a party claim or try to make his marriage void.

Draft a will

Each partner or spouse should draw a will that details the owner of your assets should you pass away. Unless you agree otherwise, your wills should inherit your assets to each other.

In the unfortunate event that you both pass away at or about the same time, include a per stirpes clause. A per stirpes clause outlines the sequence of inheritors should the first heir not be alive. Per stirpes clauses are especially helpful for blended families with children from different relationships.

Your wills should designate an executor, likely each other, to manage or oversee the division of your estates.

Designate and update beneficiaries

Update all the beneficiaries on all your accounts to match your will unless you and your partner or spouse agree otherwise. Beneficiary designations supersede wills. Therefore, your will designating your current partner or spouse as the heir does not supersede beneficiary designations you assigned before your current relationship.

This technicality catches many people by surprise. Consequently, we recommend verifying and updating your beneficiaries annually, as necessary, when you file your taxes.

Purchase life insurance

We often only think of life insurance when we start families, but today’s life insurance does more than help partners, spouses and family members when we pass away.

One of many ways life insurance can help is that it protects against creditors. Debts won’t disappear when you pass away. Depending on the type of debt you have and your financial situation, your partner or spouse be left repaying your loans. Help them by getting life insurance to help pay off your debts after you pass away.

Another valuable way life insurance can help is with your medical care. Healthcare can take as much as 30% of one’s retirement savings. Queer people who haven’t saved appropriately are at risk of not having enough money to pay for end-of-life care. Life insurance with an accelerated death benefit rider provides payments to cover medical care in certain “critical” circumstances.

Considering getting long-term care insurance

While we’re on the topic of insurance, most LGBTQ people should consider purchasing long-term care insurance (LTCI). LTCI is one of the more complex parts of medical care because it requires the physical labor of others. LTCI can range from help at home with basic needs, such as cooking and eating, to assisted living to help with a person's day-to-day physical well-being.

Choose powers of attorney

Partners and spouses should designate each other as both financial and medical powers of attorney. A financial power of attorney appoints an agent, your partner or spouse, to manage your financial matters. A medical power of attorney designates an agent to take care of your medical needs.

Both powers of attorney will be either durable or springing. A durable power of attorney authorizes your partner or spouse to immediately act on your behalf, including if you become temporarily or permanently incompetent or incapacitated. It does, however, cease when you pass away.

A springing power of attorney authorizes an agent to act on your behalf only if you become permanently incapacitated, as determined by a medical doctor. It, too, ceases when you pass away.

Draft a living will

Both partners or spouses should establish living wills. Living wills outline medical wishes, including end-of-life wishes, if you can no longer speak for yourself. Your living wills should include whether you want to be resuscitated or designate DNR for “do not resuscitate.” You may, also, include specifications on the use of feeding tubes, respirators, dialysis and blood transfusions.

Gifting your partner or spouse clarity on your end-of-life wishes will make any end-of-life decisions they must make a little easier.

The most memorable shows end with great encores. Make sure you have one. Take the extra precautions to protect yourself and your partner or spouse.

Read the original article online here.

Media Inquiries

Christina DaCosta
Director of Communications

Get Email Updates
Join Our Community

© 2012-2018 SAGE. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us | Web Site Feedback | Privacy Policy | Link Policy | Translate To: