Following the recent United States Supreme Court decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the process of implementing an estate plan in California has left some areas of uncertainty for personal representatives and trustees. A significant source of confusion arises from the fact that only a certain number of states allow for legal, same-sex marriages. One area of confusion pertains to tax filings. Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service has released a statement saying that, for federal tax purposes, it will recognize all same-sex marriages that were entered into, regardless of the state of residency.
In addition to the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services also issued guidelines on August 29. Under these new guidelines, the agency stated that all beneficiaries of Medicare will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse currently lives, regardless of whether the spouse is of the same gender. From an estate implementation perspective, the results are highly significant. Previously, same sex couples did not enjoy the same benefits as opposite gender couples when it pertains to these nursing home and Medicare rights. The result was that same-sex couples faced higher costs of care and increased time being separated, in the event that one spouse requires Medicare-related nursing home stays.
In yet another victory for same-sex couples throughout California, a federal judge in Los Angeles issued a ruling on August 30 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same veterans’ benefits as their opposite-sex counterparts. As a result, same-sex military couples previously could not access certain benefits during the implementation of an estate plan.
To learn more, contact the experienced Anaheim trust attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC, for a consultation. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481.]