July 21, 2014
Janis Cowhey, Co-Leader of the LGBT Practice Group, Quoted in The Washington Post Article, "Civilities: A Lesbian Daughter Fears Here Parents Financially Favor a Straight Sister."
By Steven Petrow
Dear Civilities: My parents recently loaned my [same-sex] wife and me $8,000 to do some home repairs. It was incredibly kind of them, and they are even allowing us to repay without interest. As we pay back the loan, however, my dad's strategy is to put the money into a brand-new account he intends "for the grandkids." I am one of only two children, and my sister is a conservative Catholic and does not believe in contraception. She already has two children and will likely have many more. My wife and I hope to someday have kids, but it will very much depend on finances. I was actually hurt to learn he is considering allocating inheritances to grandkids rather than directly to us kids! Is this even worth broaching with them? It is their money to do with as they please, and if my sister has many more children than I do, then surely she needs the money more anyway. But in the moment my mom mentioned it to me, it stung.
- Name withheld,
At first blush, your question goes to show that LGBT people can be just as petty, small-minded, and "entitled" as our heterosexual friends and relatives.
If you do have children one day, you may find that your parents are as generous to them as they have been to you. Some grandparents, however, have been known to favor the biological grandkids of straight children over those of their gay sons and daughters. Those grandchildren’s origins may have involved donors, surrogates or adoption, with a resulting loss of bloodline or the sense that they are not "real" grandchildren. This can lead to financial favoritism in everything from birthday and Christmas gifts to disproportionate college funds.
Janis Cowhey, a tax partner and attorney at Marcum LLP who's long worked with LGBT couples, is right to suggest that if you and your wife have kids, be sure to do a second parent adoption so that each of your children will also be your parents' legal grandchildren.