Plantation attorney Nicole Molder, who specializes in estate planning, has a blog called Florida Parents' Page. This weekend, she posted an item important to gay families, Same-sex couples: special considerations for estate planning.
Florida’s laws regarding same sex partnerships present special challenges when preparing an estate plan. Florida’s prohibition on gay marriage, and its outright ban on gay adoptions, make it especially important for same sex couples to properly and completely document their wishes in the form of health care surrogates, HIPAA authorizations, wills/trusts, and, for same-sex couples with minor children at home – guardian nominations, all in addition to other traditional estate planning documents. Consider the following scenario as an example of what could happen if one member of a same sex partnership (the one with legal custody over a minor child) becomes incapacitated or dies.
A and B (a same-sex couple) have lived with each other for a very long time, and love each other very much. A is the legal guardian of minor child C. Although in Florida, A is the only one who is legally recognized as minor child C’s guardian, A and B both share equally in the day-to-day responsibilities of raising and caring for C. C is very attached to both of her “parents,” and couldn’t imagine life without either one of them. C is now ten years old, and for as long as C can remember, C has known no family other than A and B. One day while coming home from work, A is severely injured in a car accident. After a month long hospitalization, A ultimately dies. What happens during (and after) this time depends largely on how much advance planning A has done. For example: