You and your partner are buying your dream home together or have already bought a home together. Now comes the part we don't always like to talk about - getting the paperwork right.
Married couples and in Asia that's generally not an available option to same-sex couples or if one party is transgender are normally protected by Government rules which protect both parties and can get away without taking extra steps.
LGBT couples are usually not covered by marriage protection and as such and need to do a bit of extra planning.
Planning involves the assurance that you as a couple will be getting the correct information and advice you need in order to keep your home sweet and an enjoyable life together.
You might be wondering, what can go wrong? There are three words that sum this up: Divorce, Death and taxes. We don't generally like to talk about any of these subject areas but they are critical considerations when buying a home together and best discussed and planned for upfront.
There are certain scenarios none of us wish to think about for example;
- If you and your partner break up you could end up not owning what you thought you owned and potentially losing your home.
- If your partner dies and you have not planned correctly, you could end up being kicked out or sharing the house with your homophobic brother-in -law if you have not made correct provision.
- Taxes are usually an unpleasant surprise, when it comes to any couple, however in the eyes of most Governments you and your partner are business partners, not lovers and may not have the protection offered to married couples.
Some Countries impose estate or inheritance tax which could mean that even if you have the correct legal provisions in place you could end up losing a significant part of the value of your home in taxes. If you and your partner are living outside of your 'home' country, there is potential that you both could face more complications by having to deal in multiple jurisdictions.
What should LGBT couples do to protect themselves and their partner?
Firstly, it's essential that these issues are discussed openly and an agreement is reached on the 'what ifs'. It is also essential that as a couple you do your homework and understand what issues you may face.
Secondly, the paperwork needs to be in place to ensure both of you are protected and what happens to your home reflects your wishes.
Finally with all the complexities it's really important that your advisors understand your situation and know you're a couple that needs protecting.
Every couple is different and has different situations but here are some examples of things that can be done to protect you and your home:
- Clear written agreements/instructions covering what happens in the event of a break-up or death to be clear and protection in the form of wills and trusts to be in place to cover your property.
- Have your home in joint names reflecting the agreed ownership.
- In the event where there is a potential for tax billing, or any other form of liability, ensure that this is covered by insurance.
LGBT couples should expect to enjoy their home and living together just like everyone else and a bit of extra planning will go a long way to ensure this is the case.
LGBT Wealth is proud to be Asia's first specialist financial advisory firm focused on the LGBT Community. LGBT Wealth is designed to provide a safe, confidential place for LGBT individuals to discuss their financial situation and aspirations with advisers who not only understand their needs but have specialist knowledge in areas like partner protection, LGBT retirement and property purchase.
Nothing in this article or website constitutes an offer or solicitation of financial product advice and is not intended to constitute provision of investment, legal, tax, or other professional or financial advice. Such content therefore should not be relied upon for the making of any personal financial and investment decisions. Persons accessing this information are strongly encouraged to obtain appropriate professional advice before making any investment or financial decision.