The movement for marriage-equality in Illinois did not stay stalled for long. Although the movement came up short after a bill that passed in the Senate but languished in the House, a coalition championing the cause, Illinois Unites for Marriage, announced that it has built up a $2 million war chest for the next legislative session. The group is ramping up to psh for the bill to be made a law, will also work to reach supporters with the help of over a dozen field organizers working in different areas of the state.
While the future looks promising, until the movement realizes its goal , same sex couples in Illinois will continue to face unique issues not shared by heterosexual couples. Fortunately, proper legal planning - including a thorough estate plan - can clear up many of those issues.
A good first step is to draft a power of attorney. A power of attorney can make sure that your partner has the legal authority to make important health and financial decisions for you when you are not competent to do so.
Next, a life partnership agreement can be a great planning tool. This type of agreement addresses child custody, property division and other fundamental family law issues. Addressing these issues early on can protect both partners in the long run. Additionally, same sex partners will likely want to draft property planning documents. These are essential because, unlike heterosexual married couples, property does not automatically pass to partners.
Finally, same sex partners may want to consider a will, trust or both. This can be especially important for couples with children. A will or trust protects children in the event that something happens to either one or both partners.
While the fight for marriage equality continues, same sex couples do have options under the current law to help address their family status and some of the important issues surrounding a dedicated life as a couple.
Source: WIFR.com, "Gay Marriage Supporters Launch $2 Million Illinois Campaign," July 17, 2013