This week’s guest blogger, Hilary Meyer, is the Director at the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
In February 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a landmark grant to establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging — the country’s first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Last week, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging released a variety of new legal and financial resources on the website, providing critical legal information and tips to older LGBT adults, and seeks to inform aging services providers and LGBT organizations of LGBT elders’ legal needs. New resources include:
- An interactive state-by-state map designed to direct LGBT older adults to legal resources specific to the state they live in
- Informative articles on the legal documents every LGBT older adult should have, such as wills, advance directives, financial power of attorney, and more
- Videos that clearly illustrate the legal and financial issues unique to LGBT older adults
- Publications to help LGBT elders get a jumpstart on legal and financial planning and
- Various multimedia resources explaining Social Security and its importance to LGBT older people.
The website materials are designed to encourage older adults to draft the legal documents needed, especially because end-of-life issues can be of special concern for the LGBT population. Namely, if someone becomes incapacitated without the proper legal documents in place, or if the person dies intestate, the majority of states give decision-making authority and inheritance to the next-of-kin— either a legally recognized spouse or blood relative. Because so few states legally recognize same-sex relationships, this could result in surviving LGBT partners or other loved ones being unable to carry out end-of-life decisions, funeral and burial wishes, being shut out of an inheritance, forfeiture of a family home, and other unintended consequences.
The legal support section is one in a series of interactive, multimedia resources that the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging will unveil over the next year. These online resources will span the many issues affecting LGBT older adults —from housing and HIV/AIDS, to retirement and healthcare access and more.
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is a project of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in partnership with 10 LGBT and aging organizations nationwide, including the American Society on Aging; CenterLink (the national association of LGBT community centers); FORGE Transgender Aging Network; GRIOT Circle; Hunter College; The LGBT Aging Project; the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); the National Institute of Senior Centers (National Council on Aging); Openhouse and PHI (a national training expert).