The information on this website regarding estate planning, health care, powers of attorney, etc., apply to all persons regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. But the needs of gay and lesbian couples are different. Of course they can own property together, sign powers of attorney, name beneficiaries of life insurance, and do many of the things that other couples do. But some statutes and customs provide rights or protections to married couples that are not available to same-sex couples, so special action must be taken to secure those rights. For example, a same-sex partner is not a lawful heir of the other partner like a married spouse would be. That makes a will critical to a same-sex couple seeking to include each other in their estate plan. The issues and policies surrounding same-sex couples are sure to change over time, but in the meantime gay and lesbian couples should seek the advice of a competent and understanding attorney regarding their unique estate planning needs.