Same Sex Couples Choosing an Executor

The basics of estate planning for same-sex couples are similar to those of heterosexual couples. Estate planning for same-sex couples has become much easier since the 2015 Supreme Court decision to grant marriage equality in all 50 states. No longer do same-sex couples need to worry about which states may consider their union legally-binding. Still, legal marriage doesn’t make estate planning unimportant and same-sex couples should meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure their affairs are in order.

Choosing the right person to be an executor is a cornerstone for all estates. This person needs to be organized, honest, and ideally, financially savvy. The court will appoint this person to handle all affairs including paying outstanding bills, filing tax returns and working with other trusted advisors to settle the estate. The responsibility of the executor is extensive and in some cases the executor’s work can last a few years.

Many people choose their spouse or adult child to serve as executor. Same sex couples, many of whom are childless, need to take special consideration when making this decision. In addition to one’s spouse, is there a longtime friend or business associate who can fulfill this responsibility? Some other factors to consider:

Will this person honor the deceased person’s wishes including burial instructions and other special requests?

Can this person act as a middleman in case of disagreements among family members?

Does this person understand the responsibilities of the role as executor?

Each family’s situation and estate are different, as is the work required of an executor. Choosing an executor is far from a simple task and special considerations are needed especially in cases of same- sex estate planning.