All couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have a Trust or Living Will to protect their assets as well as make sure that their estates are executed as they wanted them to be. Illinois state law does recognize gay couples as a civil union, meaning that they are entitled to the rights of marriage. A simple will may not be enough to protect your partner at the time of your passing. A will or trust must be made if you wish for your partner to have the rights to your estate; otherwise, they have none according to the law.
A living trust helps your partner at your time of death. If you only have a Last Will and Testament, your biological family can contest it. A trust is very hard to dispute. The type of trust that a same sex couple needs is called a Living Trust. These are rarely successfully contested in courts. A Living Revocable Trust is another option for same sex couples. A trust takes effect immediately after it is signed, there is no waiting period. The person named in your trust becomes your Trustee, and carries out your wishes while managing the Trust in the event of your passing, becoming disabled or severely ill.
A Last Will and Testament does not take effect until after you have passed away. A Trust, taking effect immediately, states that your life partner will take control of things if you are unable to due to severe injury, disability, severe illness or your death. You are putting your trust into your partner to handle all aspects of your estate including the home, bank accounts, vehicles, possessions and any other financial aspects of your life. The Living Trust makes it very simple to transfer you assets to your partner at the time of your death, alleviating the need for a messy probate court process.
If you are in a same sex relationship, you need to contact a qualified legal professional to protect your assets and your rights.