Gay Marriages Won't Stop the High Cost of Dying - Living Trusts Remain the Only Alternative to Devastating Probate Costs, Taxes and Contested Wills

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Even with the prospect of same sex marriages, gay couples are still in danger of losing property or even child custody should one partner pass away. Challenged wills, probate, and estate taxes, plus generally unfavorable estate laws will still await domestic partners who fail to set up living trusts, according to experts.

"The laws are not written in favor of domestic partners," said Sinclair Noe, president of Estate Preservation Inc., which has attorneys conducting free living trust seminars around California. "Gay marriages will not take an estate out of asset-draining probate courts, stop wills from being contested by estranged family members, or stop the State from writing a will if one isn't found, or stop the State from favoring bloodlines over the expressed desires of the deceased."

Same sex couples who wish to leave a legacy do not have all the options of the general population since the laws are so slanted. "They have to take control or cede control," he said.

Same sex couples can protect themselves with a living trust, which can be started for less than $400, which can help them avoid probate costs, estate and capital gains taxes as well as provide planning that can help protect assets from long term medical costs.

Taxes and probate costs can eat up 30% to 60% of an estate. In California any estate with $20,000 gross value in real estate has to go through probate when the owner dies. The only way to avoid probate is with a Living Trust, according to Noe. "You either have a Living Trust or a Will, and if you don't have a Will, the State will write one for you when you die. The Will is an engraved invitation to Probate Court. By planning ahead, a Living Trust completely avoids probate. The trust can save hundreds of thousands on even a modest estate. The savings and what you pass along to your loved ones is astronomical," Noe said. "Gay or straight, in the State of California today, you have to be crazy not to have a living trust."

That's if anything is left. In cases where there has been an incapacitating disease like AIDS or cancer, the estate may have been depleted by costs above and beyond doctors and medicines. A living trust helps prepare for long-term medical costs. In the event of incapacitation, the trust establishes who makes financial and medical decisions, not the courts, which tag costs and expenses to everything.

"The trust is further written so it does not force someone to spend down all their assets in order to qualify for MediCal," Noe said.

Furthermore, if a gay couple has a child, it is essential to designate a legal guardian, otherwise the courts take over, adding up costs and opening the door to legal challenges from other parties.

Noe's Estate Preservation firm conducts hundreds of free seminars yearly around the state led by prominent attorneys in the field. He notes that none of the 30,000 trusts he has filed over his 14 years in business has ever been successfully contested. Upcoming seminars are listed at . Estate Preservation's $399 living trusts include free lifetime changes and free notarization.

"People in the LGBT community do not always have the same legal options as the rest of the population," Noe concluded. "But one option is exactly the same: They can plan now, or pay later."

Press contact: Nadine Jolson 310-474-1776 email:

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