June 2, 2010

Retirement Planning Guide Released for LGBT Individuals and Couples

Legal lines for LGBT planning are often blurred

With domestic partner laws state-dependant and inconsistent, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individual and couples often have trouble securing a legacy. In order to help advisors and clients plan better, The MetLife Mature Market Institute released on Tuesday, June 2,"Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples." The guide is a follow-up to its study, "Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers." Compiled with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), the publication offers guidance and advice to LGBT boomers in the areas of legacy planning, employee benefits, health care, financial and retirement planning.

"Too often, unexpected injury, illness, or even death may leave us unable to express our preferences for ourselves or those who matter to us most," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in a statement. "Without preparation, much of what happens next will then be directed by default rules, customs and practices that may interfere with or run counter to what we would have directed. With LGBT individuals and couples who are not married, the legal lines can be blurred even more and the ramifications can be permanent. Making decisions about these issues and making them legal can save a great deal of anguish, time and money."

The MetLife Mature Market Institute's tips focus on key areas that require attention to assure that one's heirs receive what is intended and that people's wishes regarding health care decisions are honored. For individuals, the tips aim to help one enjoy financial security and employee benefits during working years and in retirement. The publication identifies documents and planning tools recommended for estate, health care, financial and retirement planning, as well as optimization of employee benefits.

"Beyond marriage and partnership issues, LGBT individuals need to consider many other important directives that are tremendously important in order to assure that their heirs receive the legacy intended, that their wishes regarding health care decisions are honored and that those they care about enjoy financial security," said Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE. "This kind of information, especially when combined with the help of a qualified health care professional, attorney or financial planner, is critically important so that each of us can make the decisions that make sense for our individual situations."

Specifically, the Planning Tips address:

  • -- Estate Planning - Wills, trusts, contingent beneficiaries, guardianship and inheritance.
  • -- Health Care Planning - Durable power of attorney for health care or health care proxy, living wills, and priority of visitation.
  • -- Financial and Retirement Planning - Life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, the various types of IRAs and annuities, bank account management, 529 plans and education savings accounts (ESAs).
  • -- Employee Benefits - Health care, life insurance, disability, pension, 401(k)/403(b), domestic partner benefits.
  • Read a story about the MetLife Study on LGBT Boomers from the archives of InvestmentAdvisor.com.
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