New York City CPA for High Net Worth

Supreme Court Decision on Same Sex Marriage Impacts Estate Planning

Supreme CourtWhile being able to marry your partner regardless of sex may seem a symbolic gesture to some, with that right comes many new legal rights as well that have a direct impact on estate planning. These changes should be discussed with your human resource department or estate management planner.

From wills to end-of-life-documents to trusts to planning funerals and even having access to their partner in the hospital, all have changed with the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same sex marriage in all fifty states. Before this ruling, same sex couples’ rights could come and go when they crossed state lines or be taken away by future state rulings.

Now, all of the normal rights and protections given to opposite sex married couples are afforded to same sex couples. This includes state benefits, federal benefits as well as pension protection and spousal rights of inheritance.

In addition, same sex couples will now be able to form a joint marital trust and no longer be required to pay double inheritance taxes. Also, they will enjoy spousal rights of inheritance as well as being able to act as executor or guardian if their partner were to become incompetent before death.

Finally, for those who have children or adopt children, both partners can now sign birth certificates or adoption papers meaning that if one partner died the other does not lose custody of their children due to not legally being recognized as a parent of the child.

For years, estate planners were put in the position of telling same sex married couples that there were two sets of rules, and the protections of marriage did not apply to them. This is no longer the case. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, same sex married couples have all of the same rights, protections, and responsibilities of traditional married couples.

To learn more about estate planning changes that apply to your situation, call Mark Feinsot CPA at 212-631-0320.  Our firm provides estate planning for small business owners and high net worth individuals.