Transitioning to your true gender isn’t always easy, and a lack of acceptance from family members can make the process much harder than it should be.
Unfortunately, trans folk have to think ahead when it comes to things like their estate plans. Without proper planning, there can be some unfortunate legal complications both before and after your death that won’t match up with your expectations or preserve your dignity and your legacy.
If you’re a transgender individual, here are a few things you need to know about estate planning:
Make sure that you are consistently identified in all documents
Colorado permits trans people to update their birth certificates with their correct gender (including the use of “X” to indicate neither precisely male nor female).
Many transgender people choose to do so when they change their legal names to better reflect their identity. This, in turn, allows them to update their driver’s license or state ID and their Social Security cards.
Making certain that all your documents (including those used as part of your estate plans) correctly reflect your name and pronouns in a clear, consistent way.
Make your designations regarding powers of attorney very clear
As a trans individual, you may have people that support you 100% – and others who do not. If you are ever incapacitated due to illness or injury, you don’t want people who don’t respect your gender identity in charge of your life.
This means selecting powers of attorney for your financial and medical needs with care. You may have to look beyond your blood relations and into your “chosen family” or friends group for the right people. You may also want to make a list of family members that you consider inappropriate for the role, just in case there are challenges. That can give the court additional guidance and protect your goals.
Make your funeral and memorial plans in advance
Finally, you may want to pre-plan your funeral or memorial and burial or cremation so that you do not have to worry about being dead named or misgendered after your death. Your life should be honored, not erased.
Estate planning can be complicated for anybody, so don’t hesitate to seek legal help to make sure that your goals are being met.