Home  |  Find a Lawyer  |  Email SignUp  |  FAQs  |  About  |  Contact  |  Log In

Give the Gift of Estate Planning!

December 17th, 2010

Christmas GiftsThe 2010 holiday season is upon us which means holiday dinners, holiday travel and shopping for gifts. A gift to consider this holiday season is the gift of estate planning. Legal documents provide you and your loved ones with a peace of mind.

LGBT individuals especially need to be proactive to ensure that their plans for the future reflect their own wishes and are not dictated by laws that do not fit their life and relationships. Did you know that unless otherwise specified in many states, probate laws generally provide if a person dies without a Will, their property goes to family, rather than a partner they had a relationship with for years and the state determines who gets your assets, not you. Without an estate plan, your loved ones would have the burden to decide what your wishes are in times of crisis. Preparing legal documents will secure your wishes and help loved ones know what your intentions are during times of crisis.

Give the gift of estate planning for yourself or loved ones and you’ll have peace of mind for many holidays to come.

Let LegalOut help you give the gift of estate planning, visit our legal documents center.

Top Reasons Individuals Put Off Preparing Legal Documents

Often times, people put off creating legal documents. We know we need to do something, but we wait. Why do we wait? Here are some common reasons why we defer making a decision:

  • We do not want to think about dying or being incapacitated.
  • We do not know where to begin.
  • We think we do not have any assets. People assume they have to be rich or married with children to create a Will.
  • We procrastinate- people know they need to create an estate plan but put it off.
  • Legal costs are high.

Can you identify with one of these reasons of putting off estate planning? Without legal documents you are at risk of not having your wishes carried out in the event that something unexpected occurs. If you are in a committed relationship, you may want your significant other to be able to make medical and legal decisions for you, should you unable to make them yourself.  You would like to plan for the future of your family to ensure they are taken care of when you are gone. Even if you are not in a committed relationship, you want to make decisions about your own life and future without unwanted intrusions from others.

LegalOut can help you avoid putting off creating legal documents. LegalOut’s online resource center provides the LGBT community with affordable legal document solutions.  We provide easy-to-use tools for customizing your documents online, in the privacy of your own home, at your own pace and provides hundreds of do-it-yourself legal documents including living wills, domestic partnership agreements, power of attorney documents, last will and testament, and many others.

By planning now you can feel comfortable that you, your family and your future are taken care of exactly the way you envision.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Are we waiting for something to happen?

July 8th, 2009

Paige Arden Stanley, Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley, L.L.C

Guest Blogger, Attorney, Paige Arden Stanley from the Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley L.L.C. and member of LegalOut’s attorney network, discusses the importance of creating legal documents:

I thought I’d share a recurring theme that I’m noticing in our busy society and with clients and potential clients.

We know we need to do something, but we wait. We defer making a decision.  Yes, we’re all guilty of it.

Why do we wait? Our reasons are different. It may be lack of time. It may be budget concerns. It may be not knowing exactly what we need. We don’t want to have the conversation. And, as individuals, we have so many demands placed upon us. We have to wear many different hats. There are only so many hours in the day. We live full lives and work in demanding jobs both inside and outside of the home.

We’re smart people. We know we really should:

  • Update a will since a divorce ten years ago, or
  • Create wills since we have been married and now have young children, or
  • Have a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will in place so a domestic partner can carry out one’s wishes.

But, still, we wait. Really, are we waiting for something unpleasant to happen? Of course not.

Do we want our loved ones to have to guess during a time which is already fraught with emotion? Of course not.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who said that she realized that she and her husband had the exact opposite wishes regarding life sustaining measures each would want taken in the event something happened. She assumed they were in accord.  Without a discussion and a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will in place for each of them, she would never have known this.

Since none of us can predict what is going to happen or when, go ahead and take the step and get the process started to protect you and your family - prepare legal documents.

Paige Arden Stanley is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and has been practicing law in the State of Georgia since 2003.  After several years practicing law at a major law firm in Midtown Atlanta, Paige has launched her own law practice, Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley, L.L.C., where she focuses on the areas of estate planning, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, and probate and estate administration. In addition, Paige handles business and family law matters as well as other areas in her general practice. Please contact Paige Arden Staney to inquire.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

LegalOut Featured in ABA Journal

June 25th, 2009

Serving Gays on the Net

New website helps prepare documents, find representation

July 2009 Issue
By Julie Kay

To read article from the ABA Journal Web site visit: Serving Gays on the Net

It was the 2004 election, and Lindalisa Severo was distressed. The Atlanta lawyer and gay rights activist was disturbed by the num­ber of anti-gay-marriage amendments on state ballots (including in her own state of Georgia) and thought other gays and lesbians were being systematically denied legal rights available to the general population.

So she got the idea to start an online service where the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community could turn to have legal documents pre­pared—everything from living wills to parenting agreements to powers of attorney.

Her idea was to have an easy and affordable way for gays and lesbians to fill out forms online without having to visit a lawyer. She realized that while same-sex couples in big cities may feel comfortable visiting lawyers, those in smaller, rural or conservative towns might not. She also wanted the service to be affordable.

After Severo teamed up with her brother, Internet guru Tony Severo, as well as online legal services provider RocketLawyer.com and other partners, she launched LegalOut this spring.

In addition to document preparation, LegalOut offers document storage and sharing, news blogs, links to petitions and other activist sites, and a referral network of lawyers sympathetic to LGBT causes.

The service costs $20 a month or $120 annually for unlimited document preparation, with the first document free.

“I felt like if they weren’t rec­ognized by the law, at least legal­ly same-sex couples could be tied togeth­er,” says Severo. “I’ve heard horror stories of one of the partners passing away and the family taking the house and leaving the other partner with nothing.

“If you’re not protected as an LGBT couple, you could really lose a lot.”

Even in states that don’t ban same-sex marriage, same-sex couples often lack the right to visit hospitalized partners, to make health care decisions for ill partners or to assume community property when partners die. They also may have no clear-cut separation or parenting-rights agreements.

LegalOut is one of several online legal documentation services that have sprung up in the last few years. Pink Legal offers similar services in the United Kingdom. RocketLawyer.com and Rainbow Law Center do so in the United States.

Many of the services, like Legal­Out, are state-specific: The online form asks which state you live in, then guides you to specific questions based on that state’s laws.

Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles, says such services are needed, particularly in rural or conservative areas. “Law­yers often closet themselves and clients often closet themselves,” she says. Lambda Legal is a civil rights organization that represents gay causes in the courts.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, many LGBT individuals have lower incomes than those of heterosexuals. And the fact that LegalOut is affordable is par­ticularly vital, Pizer says.

While Pizer advocates permanent changes to anti-gay laws, she recommends individuals prepare legal documents in the short term to protect themselves.

“Everyone can have a will prepared, prepare a health-care advance directive and power of attorney papers,” she says. “The law refuses to recognize that we exist, so yes, there is an extra degree of need.”

For more:

A Congressional Budget Office study discusses 1,138 federal statutory provisions affected by marital status.

Note from Lindalisa Severo, LegalOut President:
“The LGBT community has always been fueled by grassroots efforts in conjunction with legal advocates. Although I am not a lawyer, as mentioned in the article, I was motivated by my commitment to the community and have benefited from the input from attorneys equally committed to enriching LegalOut with their expertise.”

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

LegalOut Introduces New Do-It-Yourself Domestic Partnership Agreement for the LGBT Community

June 17th, 2009

ATLANTA – LegalOut announced the addition of a new online do-it-yourself domestic partnership agreement, an important legal document for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples.  Since rights between same-sex couples in many states are governed by principles of contract law, and not family law, a domestic partnership agreement outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of each partnership in a long-term committed relationship. The easy domestic partnership agreement is the latest interactive legal document published by LegalOut in partnership with RocketLawyer.com.

The LegalOut Domestic Partnership Agreement identifies each partner’s responsibilities, such as how to share income, pay bills, and whether property is meant to be jointly or individually owned. This document can also help in the event of a separation by clarifying ownership of property and by specifying a dispute resolution mechanism.  The do-it-yourself document is easy and inexpensive to complete.

“When a same-sex couple decides to form a long-term committed relationship, it’s smart to obtain a domestic partnership document to help solidify the relationship by outlining the responsibilities of each partner”, said Attorney Allison McDonald of the The Law Office of Tavis L. Knighten, P.C, who reviewed the new domestic partnership agreement.  She continued, “A domestic partnership agreement supplements other estate planning documents such as: living wills, financial and healthcare power of attorney documents, co-parenting agreements, and hospital visitation authorization documents, all of which help to protect a couple’s interests.”

LegalOut‘s President, Lindalisa Severo said, “Many states do not recognize any form of same-sex couple marriage benefits, as evident in the recent ruling in California to uphold Prop 8. It’s important for LGBT couples to be proactive to ensure that their plans for the future reflect their own wishes. A domestic partnership agreement helps outline these wishes.”

Charley Moore, Rocket Lawyer’s Founder and CEO added, “We’re proud to partner with LegalOut to provide the Domestic Partnership Agreement online.  The LGBT community has unique legal needs, and LegalOut is leading the way to help fill that need. It’s essential for everyone to have easy legal documents to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

Thanks to LegalOut, it’s easier and more affordable for members of the LGBT community to take care of their legal needs.  The first legal document is always free, and for $19.95 per month users have unlimited access to all LegalOut documents and membership benefits, including an online vault to securely store the document, document sharing , electronic signatures, and more.

Start your domestic partnership agreement now!

About LegalOut

LegalOut is an online resource center that provides the LGBT community with affordable legal document solutions.  Powered by RocketLawyer.com™, LegalOut provides hundreds of do-it–yourself legal documents including living wills, domestic partnership agreements, financial and health care power of attorney documents, co-parenting agreements, and many others. In addition, the site provides resources to keep members informed, empowered, and protected – connecting LGBT individuals, families and business operators with lawyers who understand the unique needs of the LGBT community.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook