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The Importance of Estate Planning in the Aftermath of The Supreme Court Decision On Same-Sex Marriage

Weber Law Sept. 7, 2015

In keeping with the religious values of our clients, please note that this blog contains information that may be useful for all married couples or couples cohabitating and contemplating marriage and merely highlights a recent United States Supreme Court decision and its impact on estate planning concerns.  On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned every state ban on same-sex marriage and ruled that such laws are unconstitutional. Due to this ruling, family law attorneys will need to handle “same sex divorces” and “same sex custody battles” should they arise in the distant future.  In addition to these new changes, same-sex couples will also need to work with experienced estate planning attorneys and financial planning professionals to develop estate plans that will enable them to manage the couple’s assets and address any unexpected future illnesses or disabilities, as well as how their end of life care will be handled.

Before this landmark decision, same-sex couples were not only prohibited from marrying in the vast majority of states, but also were not afforded the same benefits as married heterosexual couples.  As such, same-sex couples had to engage in alternative estate planning. These plans may now be unnecessary and should be reviewed by an estate planning attorney to modify such plans. Certain items may be gratuitous and can now be completely removed. Same-sex couples will now receive the same benefits offered to heterosexual couples during their marriage and after their spouse dies.

Similar to their heterosexual married couples, same-sex couples will need to address the following potential concerns facing all married couples:

  • What will happen to my spouses assets if he or she dies without a will or setting up a trust?

  • Will I receive any financial support if my spouse dies?

  • How will guardianship or conservatorships work?

  • Will my spouse or I be able to serve as personal representatives of each other’s estates?

  • What will happen to our non-biological or adopted children after my spouse dies?

  • Should I title the house and all my property to include my spouse’s name?

  • Will estate tax benefits be extended to us now that we are legally married?

  • Will gifts or bequests to my surviving spouse be subject to federal estate taxes?

  • Am I entitled to inherit the money from my deceased spouse’s retirement account and receive Medicare or Social Security benefits?

  • Is a survivor policy better than a life insurance policy?

  • How would we go about splitting gifts between us?

  • Will we need to revise our tax returns from previous years that we filed in order to retroactively claim marital deductions or estate tax benefits.

  • What about health care directives and durable power of attorney

The Weber Law Office may help respond to these outstanding questions you or your spouse may have regarding your estate planning needs.  Prior to entering into any marriage, the parties may want to review their separate assets and how it may impact their marriage financially, legally, and personally. After the marriage, the estate planning process, whether it is devising a will or trust, enables the parties to protect their wealth for future generation and helps them with end of life issues.

The Weber Law Office: Advising Clients Regarding Their Estate Planning Needs

Whether you recently have gotten married or have been married for quite some time, The Weber Law Office, P.A. recommends contacting us if you have questions regarding your estate planning needs, information about the probate process or general inquiries regarding estate administration. Please call the Kansas Estate Planning Lawyer to schedule an initial consultation.