The recent decision that has been made by the Supreme court, which prevents states from banning gay marriage, will affect the estate planning for a lot of individuals. Here are a handful of things that you should be aware of as an adviser that have changed, as this information is going to be very important for these types of clients.
In the past, gay marriage couples were not afforded the health benefits that same sex couples receive. Same sex married couples are able to cover each other through one employers health plan and this is completely new to gay coupes, so they will need to be processes that are involved in getting on their spouses insurance.
Wills and trusts were something that gay couples were completely held out from in the past, as they really did not have any say if their spouse happened to die. Gay couples will now have the same rights and will be granted spousal inheritance if one of the two dies.
Survivorship rights are when one of the two members in a couple passes away and the second person remains on the social security benefits, or any other types of benefits that may be present.
Instead of filing separate taxes, as gay couples have been forced to do in the past, they can now file as a married couple. The married couple filing status will now allow them to receive the tax breaks that are awarded to married couples who are filing their taxes.
Now that gay couples have all of the rights that same sex couples have, it only makes sense that divorce rules will apply the same as well. This means that gay married couples who happen to get a divorce will go through the same proceedings, including any custody issues that may be present.
It will be important for gay couples to now actively plan for the future, including writing wills and preparing documents and other same sex estate planning activities. Here are some steps that should be taken.
1. Set up powers of Attorney: This makes sure that a persons wishes are followed when they pass.
2. Set up trusts: Getting trusts in place is very important to do, just in case.
3. Establish Gifts: If you plan to leave any gifts, you should work this into your estate plan.
4. Add Flexibility: Life can throw a curve ball at any time, so make sure your paperwork has some flexibility and accounting for the unkown.
5. Business Transitions: If a spouse member runs a business, make sure to plan for the case of death.