Steps to protect the LGBTQ+ community

Like many of you, I celebrated the rights afforded to us in 2015 when same sex marriage became federally legal. And now, I’m here seven short years later to talk to you about the steps to take in the event those rights are taken away from us.

The fall of Roe v. Wade, coupled with comments from Justice Thomas to “reconsider” the Supreme Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Obergefell—the case that federally legalized gay marriage, has many of us thinking about the future of our families and community. And while his comments about “correcting the error” established by those precedents is incredibly hard to hear, it is even harder, and unnecessary—to wait to see what will happen.

I was always taught that in any situation you should focus on what you can control. And while you cannot control the outcome of the Supreme Court decisions, you can control the steps you take to legally protect yourself and your loved ones.

I recently sat down with Nicole Kobis—family law attorney at Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C. Nicole works with clients in the LGBTQ community, and she advises that one of the best ways to protect our families is to have estate planning documents in place. Consider that, whether you are married, in a domestic relationship, have a life partner, or are single, estate planning is how you can make sure that the people you select have the power to make decisions regarding your health, finances and children in the event you are unable.

These are the documents Nicole recommends:

  • A will—This document can outline your wishes in the event of death. Where will your assets go and how? Who will be guardian for your children? Who will manage their money? You must work with an advisor or attorney to ensure it aligns with state laws.
  • Financial POA (power of attorney)—allows you to assign the person YOU want to make financial decisions/manage your finances in the event you become incapacitated.
  • Health care POA or health care proxy—allows you to choose someone to make medical decisions for you when you cannot. This is particularly important—especially for unmarried couples.
  • HIPAA privacy authorization form—this allows doctors and other health care professionals to disclose pertinent health information and records to your designated health care power of attorney. 
  • Healthcare directive—this allows you to choose the type of care you want to receive at the end of life.
  • Second parent adoption judgment—this allows a same sex parent, regardless of their relationship status with the other parent to adopt their partner or spouse’s child. Nicole advised that this process is more important now than ever to ensure both parents’ legally recognized rights relative to their children. Nicole further recommended that the judgment resulting from the second parent adoption process should be kept by both parties and should also be brought with them when traveling.  


Even if same sex marriage protections are jeopardized, the individuals named in these documents should remain in place and enable us to protect ourselves, our loved ones and members of our community so that we are prepared no matter what the future holds.

Please contact your CI Private Wealth Advisor for more information.

The information contained herein is for educational purposes only does not constitute or substitute individualized legal advice from qualified counsel. You should always consult with your legal & estate advisors before implementing any strategies described herein.


Lisa Neira, CFP

Lisa Neira, CFP

Wealth Advisor

As a Wealth Advisor, Lisa advises clients on financial planning, tax planning and investment management to help clients achieve their financial goals leading up to and through retirement. Lisa joined RegentAtlantic in 2021, bringing over 10 years of experience in wealth management and providing financial advice to high-net-worth individuals and families.

Lisa holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. She graduated from Richard Stockton School of New Jersey where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Studies with a concentration in Finance and Economics. Prior to joining RegentAtlantic, Lisa was a VP, Wealth Planner at Fidelity Investments. Lisa currently resides in Cedar Grove, New Jersey with her wife, Mindy Neira, and enjoys traveling, cooking for her family, running around with her puppy, Avery, and watching her favorite sports teams. She is an avid fan of the Nets, Jets, and Yankees.

Barbara Bilello

Barbara Bilello

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Barbara has provided the tailored services and customized advice that help high-net-worth clients to build and protect their wealth across generations since 1996.

Barbara joined CI RegentAtlantic in 2017, was named co-chair of the firm’s Wall Street Women Forum in 2021, was named as Partner in 2021, and is currently launching the firm’s LGBTQ+ practice. Her previous experience includes positions with U.S. Trust and Goldman, Sachs & Co. Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College in Rhode Island.

A sought-after speaker on wealth management and an active volunteer, Barbara has helped to provide early learning experiences for young children, raise funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), mentor women, and ensure the LGBTQ+ community gets the representation, advice and strategies they need to succeed. She and her family split their time between Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Asbury Park, New Jersey.


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