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PRIDE month is coming to a close, but here at Longa Law we are committed to providing LGBTQ estate planning every day.  Unfortunately, while recent advancements in equality have expanded protections in some areas, complete legal equality is not guaranteed for all in our society. We help LGBTQ community members ensure that their wishes are honored and protected during their incapacity and upon their death.

Recent Advancements and Issues

The most recent decision regarding LGBTQ equality was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia, decided June 15, 2020, holding that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court specifically found that:

“A statutory violation occurs if an employer intentionally relies in part on an individual employee’s sex when deciding to discharge the employee. Because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender also violates Title VII. There is no escaping the role intent plays: Just as sex is necessarily a but-for cause when an employer discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees, an employer who discriminates on these grounds inescapably intends to rely on sex in its decision-making. Pp. 9–12.”

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made it so that same-sex couples could marry and be afforded the same privileges, rights and responsibilities as other married couples.  The Supreme Court held in OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. that the 14th Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and requires a State to recognize a marriage between a same-sex couple when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.

Despite these advancements, gay and lesbian couples in Florida still face barriers and discriminatory practices that undermine their goals and dignity, at times even violating their constitutionally guaranteed rights.  Moreover, same-sex couples who choose not to marry, face even more challenges and must take action to protect and create rights, responsibilities and protections that the law does not provide them.

Longa Law Firm, P.A. provides comprehensive legal counsel and representation to the LGBTQ community in the Tampa Bay area, as well as Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee, Pasco and Polk counties. We work to help clients resolve issues before they arise and make a complete plan so they are prepared for what the future may bring.

 Specific Ways that Longa Law can help

 For over a decade, Longa Law has helped members of the LGBTQ community with the following issues: 

  • LGBTQ Estate Planning
    • Trusts
    • Wills
    • Business Succession Planning
    • Health Care Surrogate Designations
    • Power of Attorney
    • HIPAA authorizations
    • LGBTQ Advance Directives
    • LGBTQ Beneficiary Designations 
  • LGBTQ Name Changes for Adults & Minors (with parents’ permission) 
  • Creating Joint Ownership of Property
    • Life Estate and Lady Bird Deeds
    • Newlywed Spouses (first year of marriage)
    • Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship 
  • Domestic Partnership Agreements 
  • Domestic Care Agreements 
  • Mediation of Disputes and Divorces 

With so much uncertainty in the world right now and so much implicit bias and discrimination in our society, we recommend that all LGBTQ community members revisit their estate plan to ensure that their affairs are handled the way they want, not the way a Judge would decide.  Our lawyers are knowledgeable and respectful of the unique challenges facing the community.  We create a personalized plan that addresses all of your needs and concerns.

Longa Law Firm can help you avoid conflict, protect your loved ones, and assert your rights.  Contact us, today.