Until same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, and civil unions are recognized by the federal government, LGBT and alternative families will have to depend on a mixture of a Secure Couple LLC ™ and added legal documents to gain even a tiny portion of the 1,300+ legal and financial benefits accessible to married couples.
Some of the benefits lost to same-sex couples:
1. No joint tax returns at the federal level, although they filed joint returns at the state level.
2. For a typical couple, SSM partners will lose over $8,000 per year in Social Security survivor benefits following the passing away of the top earning spouse.
3. No lump sum death payments - civilian or military - to help with funeral costs.
4. Cannot file an immigration petition for a foreign-born spouse even if the SSM was lawful in your spouse's native country, for instance, Canada or Denmark.
5. Absense of joint estate tax exemptions.
6. No automatic right exists for same-sex couples to make medical or urgent decisions on behalf of their partner. Through a legally binding durable power of attorney for healthcare, the trusted partner you name will be legally allowed to take care of essential matters for you -- for example, directing your medical care -- if you are incapable to do so yourself. Married couples receive this right automatically in all states.
7. Marriage is not a necessity for proudly owning property jointly, but for married couples in nearly all situations, property will be jointly owned regardless of who paid for it. The exact reverse of this presumption applies to unmarried couples. In the absence of equitable ownership presumptions that married couples enjoy, an LLC can provide joint ownership of property and other assets and determine how those assets will be divided upon separation.
8. No abiliaty to create a family limited partnership to allocate business income.
9. May not be able to be incorporated in a spouse's health insurance coverage unless the corporation adopts an enlightened policy. Continuing insurance protection (COBRA) may not be open if the insured spouse loses his or her job.
10. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 permits individuals up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for ill spouses, or the children and parents of a spouse. Does not apply to a same-sex "spouse".
11. Can be denied the right to visit a partner in critical care/ICU. Incidents in some hospitals such as Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, have led to more enlightened visitation policies.
12. For most same-sex couples, joint or second parent adoption is not permitted. Some states such as Florida completely bar same-sex partners from adopting.
13. Same-sex partners do not inherit in the absense of will, as do surviving spouses when their partners die intestate.
14. No survival or spousal benefits for pensions, Social Security, Medicare, or annuities. Protections designed for one spouse's essential financial resources such as the capacity to reside in the family home when the other spouse needs Medicaid long term nursing home care are lost.
15. In civil court actions, no wrongful death benefits for surviving SSM spouses or children.
16. Cannot assert certain judicial immunities such as the right not to bear witness against a spouse.
17. No right to make decisions concerning final arrangements for a deceased partner, such as burial versus cremation, or where the deceased will be laid to rest.
18. No SSM benefits available to military families such as medical, dental, housing, educational assistance, vocational training, home loan guarantees, relocation assistance, housing allowances, survivors' benefits, and VA benefits.
19. Because of DOMA, the federal government denies rights, protections, benefits, and responsibilities to same-sex married couples in all federal programs that take account of marital status.
20. Lack of other state civil lawsuits like loss of consortium, crime victim recovery benefits, and domestic violence protection orders.
LGBT partners would be wise to seek advice from their lawyers in order to draft legal documents to duplicate as many benefits as possible that traditional married couples receive automatically. The 20 denied rights above are merely the tip of the melting iceberg.
Documents you may wish to discuss with your attorney and financial advisor include:
- Limited Liability Company for asset protection and distribution - Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare - Co-Habitation Agreement - Co-Parenting Agreement - Simple Will - any number of trusts for additional asset protection
Many states, including Florida, will acknowledge correctly drafted cohabitation agreements. A vital point for same-sex cohabitation contracts is that the essential rationale cannot be to enforce a sexual arrangement. Also, sex cannot be offered in exchange for money or other financial consideration. These agreements are void as against public policy.
Each situation is unique, but many of these agreements are valuable for male-female married couples also. Protect you LGBT relationship with an LLC until and even after SSM discrimination ends.
LGBT and alternative families will have to rely on a mixture of a Secure Couple LLC ™ and other legal contracts to gain even a small portion of the 1,300+ legal and economic benefits offered to married couples.
Obtain your free Secure Couple LLC ™ ebook and learn how to form an LLC to proclaim your commitment, set up your joint finances, and guard your future pending the federal government and the several states eliminate marriage discrimination against SSM and others who choose not to marry - http://securecouplellc.com/formscllc.pdf