3 LGBT Retirement Issues
LGBT couples often face a number of retirement plan challenges their heterosexual counterparts rarely
consider. While there are steps you can take to protect your retirement and estate planning interests,
LGBT couples need to take particular care in their plans because of the potential hurdles involved.
Here are a few of the key retirement issues you will need to address if you are an LGBT couple.
Issue 1: Retirement accounts and pensions
In 2010 the Pension Protection Act allowed people with a workplace retirement accounts to name a
non-spouse beneficiary. For LGBT couples, this means they can select their partner as their beneficiary,
allowing them to roll any inherited benefits directly into their own individual retirement account or
annuity. However, Social Security spousal and survivor benefits cannot be extended to LGBT couples.
Issue 2: Shared medical choices
No matter how long you may have been in your relationship, LGBT couples do not automatically have
the right to be involved in one another's medical choices. If you wish to allow your partner to make
medical choices on your behalf, you'll want to create medical powers of attorney or other advance
medical directives which specifically grant this right.
Issue 3: Long-term care planning
Long-term care for many elderly people involves the assistance of family. However, many LGBT
couples, and single people, do not have family assistance they can rely upon. If you're planning on
using Medicaid, the program's requirements only allow you to receive coverage if you meet certain
asset eligibility criteria, but you'll need to speak to your attorney about how your state's Medicaid
rules apply to you.
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