Post submitted by Adam Swaim, HRC Director of Estate Planning
The beginning of a new year is a good time to take stock, plan and tackle long overdue tasks. If you don’t currently have a life and estate plan, resolve to create one. If you already have a plan, now is a good time to review it. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation recently published Protect Yourself and Those You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Life & Estate Planning for LGBT Americans and Their Families, and now is a good time to get your free copy.
Our new step-by-step Life & Estate Planning Guide walks you through the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones, regardless of your age, marital status, the value of your assets or the state in which you live.
“Life planning” lets you plan for the possibility that, for health reasons, you may not be able to make your own medical or financial decisions, or take care of your loved ones. “Estate planning” lets you ensure that, upon your death, care of your loved ones and distribution of your assets happens the way you want it to.
Life and estate planning is largely controlled by state law. Your state has its own rigid rules to address what happens to you, to your loved ones and to your assets during your lifetime — if you are incapacitated — and after your death if you don’t put in place your own plan. By preparing a plan, you can make sure that your wishes are followed by people you trust.
Many people find it hard to undertake life and estate planning because it means thinking about disability and death, and possibly entails having difficult conversations with your partner, spouse, friends or family. The risks of not acting, however, are significant. Make a resolution today to create or update your plan this year, and use our step-by-step Life & Estate Planning Guide to help you start the process.
As you create or update your plan, we hope that you will consider creating a legacy of equality by making HRC one of your beneficiaries. There are many ways to create a legacy of equality including a bequest to HRC in your will or trust or by naming HRC as a beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy.