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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Estate Planning Tips for same-sex couples

In the United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court rules that federal government must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in a state for federal law purposes. Below are some tips in an estate planning concept:

  1. Boomerang assets.

Lots of same-sex couples do not have children. While the couple may want to provide for each other, after the death of the second-to-die spouse, they each may have different dispositive wishes. Therefore, instead of traditional plans where spouses leave everything to each other, trust-based planning becomes very appropriate. This way, assets can be used by the surviving spouse, but if anything remains,  each spouse’s nieces / nephews / siblings will receive the money.  

   2. Remarriage protection.

Remember that spouses can remarry. A new spouse (or new spouse’s children) may inherit your assets if you did not plan properly.  If you want to provide for your own children and not for a subsequent spouse, remember to plan accordingly.

   3. Plan for Your Children

You have to plan for children and their inheritance properly. Have they been adopted jointly? If not – remember to name them in your documents. If a child was not adopted and has not been named in a Will, it does not matter how long he lived with a parent – he will have absolutely no rights!

   4. Tax and other legal implications of marriage

If partners have lived together for many years, they may decide that marriage may not be necessary for them. Yet there are many financial benefits to a marriage, including ability to file jointly on income taxes, ability to transfer assets to spouse without tax consequences, increased capital gains deduction on sale of a primary residence, social security pension, veteran’s pensions, and immigration status.

Disclaimer: This article only offers general information.  Each situation is unique. It is always helpful to talk to a specialized attorney, to figure out your various options and ramifications of actions.  As every case has subtle differences, please do not use this article for legal advice. Only a signed engagement letter will create an attorney-client relationship.


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