Are there proactive steps we should take to ensure that our wishes will be followed if either of us becomes incapacitated?
If you are in a non-married LGBT relationship, your relationship is not recognized by law (an exception is made for registered domestic partners and civil marriages in some states). Under these circumstances, biological family members sometimes step in, take over decision-making authority, and exclude partners and close friends from being involved in the care of your friend or loved one. Certain steps should be taken to legally acknowledge if you want your chosen family to take charge of your care. At the very least, you must state your wishes in writing, authorizing particular persons to act for you in the event that you are unable to make decisions on your behalf in the future. That document is called an Advance Healthcare Directive in California, and a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare elsewhere. For further information on the documents you must execute, including powers of attorney for health care and for finances as well as other necessary legal documents, see the FCA fact sheet Legal Issues for LGBT Caregivers.