5 questions with Lorie Burch
Lorie Burch is a lawyer in private practice in Dallas. She specializes in estate planning and will lead a free seminar on estate planning for LGBT individuals and couples at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, 2735 Villa Creek Road, Ste. 290.
Do you specialize in estate planning for the LGBT community?
In my practice I focus exclusively on estate planning, but I wouldn’t say I actually specialize in estate planning for the LGBT community. But that is certainly a community I am greatly involved in, and I always make sure I am aware of any issues that affect the community.
What affect does the anti-gay-marriage amendment passed last year have on estate planning?
It is really a wait-and-see situation right now. But really, when it comes to the kind of work I do, it shouldn’t make any difference at all. It was made very clear in the legislative history of the amendment that it was not supposed to affect contracts, and estate planning decisions are contracts. Of course, there haven’t been any legal cases over it yet.
Why is estate planning so necessary for LGBT people in Texas?
By law in Texas, unless you are married to a person or have some blood relationship with them, you have no rights at all when it comes to that person’s property or well being, unless you have things like living wills and powers of attorney in place.
Why did you specialize in estate planning?
I originally wanted to be involved in civil rights and public interest law. I went to George Washington University School of Law in Washington, and while I was a student there I interned with the Human Rights Campaign and People for the American Way. I was one of those people who always wanted to help people, but I couldn’t get involved in terms of getting hired somewhere as a lawyer doing that kind of work. So I came back here, where I knew I could start my own practice. Working in this specialty with the LGBT community, I feel like I am still serving some public interest, civil rights cause.
What organizations are you involved with in the LGBT community?
I am a member of the North Texas GLBT Chamber. I’m on the board of the Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and I am a member of the Business Network-Collin County.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 8, 2006.