In Florida, as in the vast majority of other states, same-sex couples are not afforded the rights that heterosexual married couples are entitled to. This can permeate all areas of a couple’s life, and special attention is necessary when it comes to estate planning. When it comes to planning your estate, have you considered what will happen when it comes to making funeral plans?
Under Florida law, absent other arrangements, family members are the only individuals authorized to make funeral and burial plans on your behalf. And, under Florida law, same-sex partners are not counted as family members. This means that unless you have a plan that specifically gives your partner the authority to make your final arrangements, this task will be left to your blood relatives. It also means that, unless your relatives are cooperative, your partner will not be able to object to the arrangements made by your family members – whether or not those arrangements reflect your final wishes.
How to remedy the situation? One solution is to include an authorization in your estate plan that specifically designates your partner as the person with the authority to make your final arrangements. In doing this, you’ll want to seek the guidance of an estate planning attorney to help ensure that your wishes are communicated in a manner that will be honored.