Every year in October, the LGBT community and its supporters celebrate LGBT History Month. If you will be among those who are celebrating the importance of LGBT history this October, this is also a great time to focus on your estate plan. LGBT History Month reminds us that while great strides have been made in the fight for equality, protecting yourself, your assets, and your loved ones through comprehensive estate planning remains essential. The Indianapolis estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft suggest that you review and revise your estate plan as part of your celebration during LGBT History Month.
LGBT History Month
In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to celebrating and teaching gay and lesbian history, so he gathered other teachers and community leaders together to create what would eventually become LGBT History Month. The idea garnered early support from organizations such as GLAAD, the National Education Association, and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
October was chosen because public schools were in session and because the month already included the by-then well-established National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11th) as well as the anniversary of the first march on Washington by LGBT people in 1979 (Oct. 14th). The month now also includes Spirit Day on Oct. 20th, on which people around the country wear purple in support of LGBT youth; Ally Week, a week in which allies against LGBT bullying are celebrated; and the anniversary of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard’s murder on Oct. 12, 1998, which sparked the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
During the early years, the celebration was largely marked by a call to action and commemoration. But since then, LGBT History Month has blossomed into a nationally coordinated effort to highlight exemplary role models from the LGBT community. Since 2006, this push has so far been led by LGBT rights and education organization Equality Forum which assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion, and resources for LGBT History Month. On the celebration’s website this year (and every year since they took charge), Equality Forum is highlighting a new LGBT icon every day with a video, biography, images and bibliography describing the person’s significance. So far, Kyle Allums — the first openly transgender athlete to play NCAA Division I college basketball — poetry great John Ashbery, and cartoonist Alison Bechdel — who won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book in 2007 — have been reviewed. Over the years that Equality Forum has been doing this, they have amassed the biographies and stories of almost 200 LGBT people who have made a difference to the community and the world.
LGBTQ Estate Planning
After decades of fighting for the right to marry, the Supreme Court finally acknowledged the fundamental right of same-sex couples in the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges. Whether that historical decision truly ended the fight for LGBTQ equality remains to be seen. We do know that obstacles and hurdles remain.
For example, the law cannot force family members to accept your marriage or relationship. If your family does not respect your relationship, your partner/spouse could be excluded from the decision-making process in the event of your incapacity or death.
Fortunately, your estate plan can make your wishes clear and legally enforceable. Executing an advance directive, for instance, will give your partner/spouse the legal right to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. Appointing your partner/spouse as your Executor and/or Trustee will give him/her the legal authority to administer your estate and/or the trust you created. While the fight for complete LGBTQ equality continues in earnest, estate planning continues to protect LGBTQ rights in the meantime.
Contact Indianapolis Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions about LGBT estate planning, contact the experienced Indianapolis estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.