The fact that Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage as legal can make it very important for same-sex couples in the state to make advanced preparations for what will happen if their relationship were to end unexpectedly. This is because many of the legal mechanisms in the state that are in place for married heterosexual couples when it comes to the ending of a relationship are not made available to same-sex couples. Advanced preparation can help reduce the amount of uncertainty the lack of access to such mechanisms causes.
For example, a same-sex couple that is in a close relationship making an advanced plan for what will happen with things like their assets if they were to one day decide to split up (such as coming up with a prenuptial agreement) may be able to help offset some of the disadvantages that can come from not being able to get a same-sex divorce in the state.
Of course, a same-sex couple deciding to call it quits is not the only way a same-sex relationship could unexpectedly end. Another way is the tragic situation of one member of a same-sex couple suddenly passing away due to an accident or medical condition. A member of a same-sex couple may want to ensure that, if tragedy were to strike and they were to die an early death, their partner would get a fair amount of their estate. One form of preparation a person in a same-sex relationship can take to further this wish is to set up an estate plan that takes this desire into account.
Careful estate planning is important for any person. It can be especially important for same-sex couples because, here in Texas, a person in a same-sex relationship would generally not have any automatic spousal inheritance rights under state law if their partner were to pass away, because Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages.
Our firm understands the special estate planning concerns and issues that can come up for same-sex couples in the state and can help individuals who are in same-sex relationships with building estate plans aimed at furthering their particular after-death goals.