If you are referring to same-sex civil unions, they are not recognized in the state of Texas. Until the Supreme Court brings change in this area, there are many family law attorneys in the Dallas area who can assist you in filing the proper contracts and documents needed to protect your partner in case of emergency. An estate planning attorney may also fill this need as to medical and durable powers of attorney, and valid wills. Good luck.
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At a minimum, you would want to consider Wills and Durable Power of Attorney forms for financial and medical matters. If you have additional objectives, such as avoiding the need for probate, then additional planning would be needed. Estate planning is always best done by an estate planning attorney.
You are very wise to take care of this. As my colleague has indicated, civil unions do not have legal recognition in many states, so in the absence of proper planning, there would be no rights.
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If you are a same-sex couple, you absolutely need to consult a probate attorney. Texas does not recognize civil unions and offers no protection to same-sex couples. So, in order for your partner to inherit from you, make medical, financial, or other decisions if you are incapacitated, you have to have an estate plan. At a minimum you will each need a Last Will and Testament, Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians (Living Will), HIPAA Release, Declaration of Guardian Before the Need Arises (can be put in the will), and Appointment of Agent for Disposition of Remains. If you have minor children, you will also want to execute a Designation of Guardian for the children. You may also want a cohabitation agreement or property agreement between the two of you to define the ownership of property and expectations of each person.
If you are not a same-sex couple, it is still advisible to have the above documents. You should be aware that Texas recognizes common law marriage, so you have to be careful about how you treat your relationship to avoid creating a common law marriage.
Please consult an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. The Human Rights Campaign website has a list of LGBT friendly attorneys throughout the country.
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