Domestic Partner Planning
Published in Florida Justice Association Journal
People tend to avoid dealing with issues of illness, death and mortality. The laws in Florida as well as the United States generally do not provide your clients who may be same sex and heterosexual partners with the same rights as married couples. Therefore, it is even more important that advance planning be undertaken by domestic partners.
Here are the top ten reasons why domestic partners engage our office to assist them with advance planning:
- To ensure that the domestic partner has legal authority as the Designated Health Care Surrogate to make the other partner’s medical decisions in the event of their incapacity.
- To assure that the domestic partner has legal authority as agent under a Durable Power of Attorney to make the other partner’s financial decisions in the event of incapacity.
- To assure that the domestic partner will inherit the portion of the other partner’s estate in a properly drafted estate plan.
- To assure that both partners have taken advantage of all possible benefits available by purchasing long term care insurance offered through employment.
- To be educated about arranging maximum benefits available under employee benefit packages prior to retirement.
- To ensure that the domestic partner has a protected interest in the home they share.
- To ensure that both partners have taken advantage of the maximum health care benefits available under both employees’ health plans, where permitted.
- To be confident that partners have taken advantage of benefits available by purchasing long term care insurance when offered to domestic partners.
- To ensure their privacy is maintained and limit the possibility of family pursuing a legal guardianship.
- To assure that partners properly designate beneficiaries on assets to avoid probate.