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April Harris Jackson

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Legal Protections Every Tennessean Can Learn About from the LGBTQIA+ Community

Introduction

Hey there, Nashville and Middle Tennessee! Estate planning might sound like a snooze-fest, but it’s super important for everyone, no matter your background or family situation. The LGBTQIA+ community has faced some unique challenges over the years, and there’s a lot we can learn from their experiences about protecting our loved ones and making sure our wishes are honored. Let’s dive into some valuable lessons that can help all of us.

Lesson 1: The Importance of Legal Documentation

The LGBTQIA+ community has had to fight hard to make sure their chosen families are recognized legally. Without the right legal documents, like wills, trusts, and advance directives, partners and chosen family members often couldn’t make medical decisions or inherit property. This highlights how important it is for everyone to have these documents in place! It’s all about making sure your wishes are clear and legally binding, so your loved ones are protected and have access to you when it’s most important.

Lesson 2: Understanding Intestacy Laws in Tennessee

Intestacy laws decide how your stuff gets distributed if you pass away without a will. In most states, these laws favor relatives by blood and marriage, causing a lot of heartache and disputes when those avenues aren’t available. That’s why it’s crucial for everyone to understand how Tennessee’s intestacy laws work and to take steps to create a valid will. This way, your assets go to the people you choose, not just your blood relatives.

Lesson 3: The Role of Advance Directives in Medical Decision-Making

One major lesson from the LGBTQIA+ community is the importance of advance directives for medical emergencies. Without a healthcare power of attorney or living will, medical professionals might turn to biological family members who might not know your wishes (or just not want to follow them). By creating these documents, you can make sure your trusted person makes decisions for you, ensuring your wishes are followed and your MVPs are involved in your care. 

Lesson 4: Protecting Shared Assets and Property

For most couples, shared assets and property are a big part of their lives. Without proper estate planning, these assets can be at risk. This is a lesson for everyone in Middle Tennessee: make a comprehensive estate plan that includes wills, trusts, and property agreements. This helps protect your shared assets and ensures they go to the right people, avoiding legal disputes.

Lesson 5: Marriage Equality and Estate Planning

The legal recognition of same-sex marriages has been a huge win, giving all couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. But marriage equality alone doesn’t cover everything that your family may need. All married couples in Nashville and Middle Tennessee need detailed estate plans that reflect their unique needs. This includes updating beneficiary designations, creating wills and trusts, and setting up advance directives to outline and protect your wishes.

Lesson 6: Proactive Estate Planning for Legal Protection

The ongoing fight for LGBTQIA+ rights shows us that legal protections can change with political and social climates. This is a reminder for everyone in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to be proactive about estate planning. Stay informed about legal developments and work with knowledgeable professionals to create estate plans that offer peace of mind and security. Estate planning isn’t just about legalities; it’s about making sure your loved ones are cared for and your wishes are respected.

Conclusion

The LGBTQIA+ community’s history offers valuable lessons in estate planning for everyone in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. As we reflect on these lessons, take a moment to talk about your estate plan with your family. If you need to update your plan or start from scratch, give us a call! We’re here to help you protect your loved ones and build a secure future.

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