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Preventing Disasters: Estate Planning for Older, Unmarried LGBTQ Couples in Illinois


Created on June 04, 2018





In addition to ushering in new laws, the marriage equality push over the last decade provided an opportunity for researchers to investigate the issues confronting older LGBTQ couples who remain unmarried. The reports and case law emerging from this research yielded a resounding conclusion: the vulnerability inherent in being a member of the LGBTQ community who is growing old means that marriage is a more important construct for older LGBTQ couples than older straight couples. Without proper estate planning, the net effect of this vulnerability can be disastrous economically, emotionally, and physically for not only the couple, but also any non-blood-related loved ones. Thus, it is incumbent upon estate planning attorneys representing the LGBTQ community to seek to provide the maximum protections that legal instruments, services, and creative problem-solving can offer.

This program, taught Max Elliott, will cover these critical and life-altering estate planning issues for LGBTQ couples in Illinois. Ms. Elliott is principal and founder of the Chicago-based firm, The Law Offices of Max Elliott. Her firm practices estate planning and wealth preservation for the LGBTQ community, women, and small business owners. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association Trust Law Executive Committee, the U.S. Trust Center of Influence on Estate Planning, and an American Bar Foundation Fellow. Max has also presented several times to bar association and community groups on estate planning topics such as marriage equality, and the intersection of retirement and estate planning.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review marriage equality jurisprudence and the landscape of legal protections afforded by marriage, including the qualitative and quantitative benefits
  2. Become familiar with issues affecting older couples, such as elder abuse and exploitation, and how it manifests inside and outside the couples' residence
  3. Distinguish between estate planning and elder law, and understand how the changing legal needs of older couples determine their legal needs
  4. Identify estate planning instruments, provisions, and operations of law that can support protections needed by older, unmarried, LGBTQ couples and the loved ones that provide them support

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