Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community often face financial and legal hurdles that many straight couples may have never even considered – such as the ability to participate in medical decisions for a sick spouse, or the concern that a partner or spouse's retirement plan or Social Security benefits would evaporate if their partner dies. These are just two of the things LGBT couples must consider when planning financially, so it's important that members of the LGBT community – and those who support them – understand these and other issues they may face, and how to approach them.

The inability to have a relationship recognized by their state can take a financial toll on LGBT families, so retirement and legacy planning takes on even greater importance for LGBT individuals and couples, and can help create a financial safety net for the future.

According to Lamda Legal, an organization committed to advancing the civil rights of the LGBT community, there are approximately 1,400 legal and financial benefits codified in federal and state laws that are reserved for married couples. These benefits range from joint parenting to bereavement and sick leave benefits to joint insurance policies, and many of them are truly priceless since they cannot be “bought” – even through a legal arrangement. Those that can be bought may be out of financial reach for those who can't afford to hire an attorney.