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Lifelines: Documents to Protect Your Family

May 2011 | National Center for Lesbian Rights

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"Although serious illness and the end of life may be difficult to think about and discuss, it is important for all people—and particularly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people—to consider what they wish to happen if they become seriously ill or incapacitated, and to put documents in place reflecting these wishes."

For all LGBT individuals and same-sex couples, it is important to create legal documents that identify who you consider your family. When you have not created legal documents to define your own personal choices, the law usually will give preference to your legal heirs or relatives with regard to inheritance, medical and financial decision-making, and funeral arrangements. With the exception of a small, but growing, number of states, same-sex partners are not considered legal heirs or relatives.Note: This publication was created before the June 2013 US Supreme Court decision overturning Section 3 of DOMA, so some information contained herein may no longer be applicable.

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