Pennsylvania Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Legal Issue Lawyers
At our law firm, we work with LGBT clients in a number of legal situations because we are committed to promoting LGBT equality. We are proud of our experiences and our strong history of working with the LGBT community as advocates for LGBT individuals and for the community as a whole. KM&A is uniquely knowledgeable of Pennsylvania LGBT legal issues. We understand that LGBT individuals, couples, families, and communities have unique legal needs and are dedicated to advancing LGBT rights.
Summary of LGBT Legal Issues
- Employment Discrimination: We will aggressively pursue employers who are hostile to their LGBT employees.
- Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning: Our firm guides clients through the process of establishing legal wills, trusts, and other aspects of estate planning. We help ensure that a client’s wishes are followed in terms of how assets are to be divided. We are especially sensitive to the needs of LGBT individuals who are estranged from family members, in which case creating a will and other vital documentation is essential.
- Powers of Attorney: Our attorneys can help you establish Powers of Attorney documentation that ensures that your partner will be able to make decisions on your behalf if you become sick or incapacitated.
- Prenuptial Agreements: The range of what can be in a prenuptial agreement is flexible and can accommodate most of the individual wants and desires that a marrying couple may have.
- Adoptions: Our law firm assists same-sex couples, as well as single individuals, step-parents, and alternative family units, with legal guidance throughout the adoption process in Pennsylvania.
- Domestic Partnership Agreements: Our firm expertly drafts the necessary legal paperwork to create binding Pennsylvania Domestic Partnerships. We will consult with you and your partner, draft your agreement according to your wishes, and help protect your rights as a couple.
- General Litigation: Our firm handles a variety of other legal issues and practice areas, including general litigation and dispute resolution. We enjoy serving the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and couples.
LGBT Employment Discrimination
Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination laws protect employees in a number of different circumstances. Unfortunately, the state government has not yet enacted laws designed specifically to protect LGBT employees from discrimination. Current statewide protections are available for other types of discrimination, such as discrimination because of race, age, disability, and sex. We are calling on Pennsylvania to act immediately to protect LGBT employees from discrimination.
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Even though Pennsylvania lacks statewide legal protections for LGBT employees, its major cities have taken action on their own. Major cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have made employment discrimination against LGBT employees illegal in their jurisdictions. The same is true for all of Allegheny County. Our lawyers represent clients in all of these venues and pursue every case as far as possible. For a complete list of jurisdictions with legal protections against LGBT discrimination, visit our orientation discrimination page.
Fighting LGBT discrimination in the workplace
Some types of discrimination against LGBT employees are blatant and obvious. For instance, if your boss uses a gay slur and then fires you because you are homosexual, you will know that you have been a victim of discrimination. Usually, the situation is not so clear, and there is rarely a “smoking gun” that proves discrimination beyond any doubt. In those situations, our employment lawyers investigate to see whether anti-gay discrimination was a motivating factor behind a termination, demotion, failure to hire, or failure to promote. We build a legal case using all the evidence surrounding the employment action. The law requires that a government agency investigate claims of workplace discrimination before a lawsuit can be filed. For instance, we may file an initial claim with the City of Pittsburgh’s Commission on Human Relations or with Allegheny County’s Human Relations Commission. The agency processes your claim and may attempt to resolve the dispute before a lawsuit is necessary. If no resolution occurs during the agency process, the agency will issue a “right to sue” letter to you and your employment attorney, which means you can escalate your case by filing it in court. The deadlines to file the initial charge of discrimination and to bring suit in court are very strict, so it is important to act quickly and without delay. You should speak with an employment lawyer experienced with LGBT issues to evaluate your legal case.
LGBT Estate Planning
Our lawyers offer a range of estate planning services, and we understand the particular concerns of LGBT families and same-sex couples. The chart below summarizes the primary legal products that LGBT families need when they are going through the estate planning process with their lawyer.
The most common estate document is a will. A will lawyer will tell you that it is the keystone of estate planning. If you pass without a legally valid will, numerous problems may arise. Among these, two core issues will likely have the most significant impact upon you and your family. First, the government can intrude on your family to decide how your savings and belongings are distributed. In some cases, the government may even force your assets to be surrendered to the state. Second, it is unfortunately common for family members to fight for years over your assets, even for small and unremarkable items, destroying family ties and wasting your money in the process. Learn more about wills.
Another common estate document is a power of attorney. This is used to give someone else control if you become incapacitated. Without a power of attorney, you could lose control of your assets including your property and your business because no one had the authority to make important legal decisions during this period. An estate lawyer can help you make sure that the person you want to make decisions for you when you no longer are able to has the legal power and authority to do so. Without a legally binding power of attorney in place, the courts may intrude on your personal decisions and appoint an individual of their choosing to act as your guardian. Learn more about a power of attorney.
It is also good practice to make a living will. Without it, your loved ones must make the agonizing decisions about what you would have wanted if you become injured or gravely ill and can no longer make the decisions yourself which often can tear families apart. If you would prefer to ease the burden on your loved ones, you need to have a living will expressing your desires. With a living will lawyer, you can make your own choices regarding life-prolonging treatment and end-of-life care. Learn more about living wills.
A probate lawyer knows the probate system, and the most efficient way to distribute your assets to your loved ones according to your wishes. Often the estate lawyer who drafted your loved one’s will is helpful as the probate attorney during the estate administration. Sometimes the estate planning lawyer is no longer practicing law or is unavailable. Should you need a new probate lawyer, please contact one of our probate lawyers. Learn more about probate.
An estate administrator is responsible for the management of the estate of a decedent after their passing. In addition to the day to day management of the estate, the estate administrator is charged with responsibilities including filing the will with the court for probate, gathering the assets and property of the estate, ensuring that the debts and the tax liabilities are paid, distributing to estate to the beneficiaries, and addressing any contests to the will distribution. Estate administration can be complex, to avoid subjecting your loved ones to this burden please contact one of our estate administrators. Learn more about an estate administrator.
A Modern Law Firm Representing LGBT Employees and Families
At KM&A, we run a high-tech, eco-friendly, paperless law firm designed to streamline the legal process for our clients. We are constantly innovating to improve the experience for the people who matter: our clients. Our LGBT clients appreciate our dedication to their individual cases and to the overall cause of advancing LGBT rights. Our main offices are in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and we represent LGBT employees and families from all over Pennsylvania, fighting as hard as we can for their rights.
Promises we make to every client:
- We will help evaluate your needs first, before you have to pay anything.
- We will candidly discuss strengths, weaknesses, liabilities, and options.
- We will protect all your information as strictly confidential.
- We will give you regular updates as new developments arise in your case.
- We will push aggressively and without delay for a quick resolution.
What type of legal help do you need?
Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a law firm serving all of Pennsylvania with our principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Call KM&A in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 215-618-9185. KM&A can be reached by email at email@example.com.