Same-Sex Couples, Estate Planning, and New Rights and Benefits

Posted on Sep 15, 2013

For same-sex couples in long-term relationships, estate planning has always been extremely important. Estate plans were created that could address the distribution of assets, healthcare decisions, and avoidance of tax complications. Now that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act has been repealed, same-sex couples in California now have rights to more than 1,100 federal benefits and programs that were previously unavailable. Some couples are rushing to get married as a result. It is important to consult with an experienced Anaheim trust attorney before taking such an action.

Among the new rights and benefits afforded under the recent Supreme Court decision are the following:

  • Social security benefits
  • Veterans’ survivor benefits
  • Foreign spouses can be sponsored for citizenship
  • Married spouses can file joint income taxes
  • A spouse can roll over a deceased spouse’s qualified retirement account
  • A spouse can take advantage of the unlimited marital deduction

With all of these newly available rights and benefits, many same-sex couples are now opting to get married. A new report, however, warns that couples should think carefully before entering into a marriage. California is a community property state. This means that married couples share debts, as well as assets. Healthcare benefits under MediCal could be lost. Income taxes could potentially increase.

Before making any rushed decisions, same-sex couples should consult with their legal, financial, and tax advisors. This includes an estate planning attorney experienced working with same-sex couples. To learn more, contact the knowledgeable Anaheim trust attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, APC, today for a consultation. Call our office at (714) 459-5481.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm