With the election now over, gay marriage advocates see something entirely new across the states. As you probably know, three new states approved same sex marriage: Maine, Maryland, and Washington. What do these new developments mean for same-sex couples and their estate planning challenges? With the three newest states to uphold same-sex marriage, that makes an official total of nine states plus the District of Columbia, plus an assortment of 12 other states with various forms of “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships.” It’s a good sign for advocates, but all the same it’s important to remain in perspective, as put by Forbes staffer Deborah Jacobs not too long after the election: “Gay Marriage Scores Victories In All Four States That Considered It, But Tough Road Lies Ahead.” For planners, being able to take care of one another and your family, either with legal rights or transfers of assets, is a matter of balancing the right legal appointments, documents, and tax codes. But same-sex couples occupy a strange place that requires a steady hand: states vary greatly even when they permit same-sex marriage, the institution that opens up so many planning avenues, and yet the federal government doesn’t recognize any of them. As we watch the Supreme Court take on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), there may be more new developments on the horizon. Whatever the outcome may be, same-sex couples still face unique and complex trials when it comes to their estate plans.
Reference: Forbes (November 7, 2012) “Gay Marriage Scores Victories In All Four States That Considered It, But Tough Road Lies Ahead”
For more information, see www.jerryreiflawyer.com