In June the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. In the short term this means states that previously did not allow gay marriage are legally required to recognize it. Gay couples are legally married in all 50 states regardless of where the ceremony happened. What has been seen primarily as a civil rights issue is also a financial win.
Federal marriage benefits are now available to same sex couples.
- Social Security benefits now available to same sex couples including spousal support, retirement, and lump-sum death benefits
- Tax Savings including filing jointly instead of as two single people
- Estate Planning benefits for gifting and trusts including gifting up to $28,000 with one check instead of two
- Federal employee benefits including healthcare, worker’s compensation, and retirement plan benefits for the surviving spouse of a deceased federal worker.
- Veteran and military spousal benefits including death benefits for the surviving spouse, healthcare, educational assistance, and home loan guarantees.
- Immigration benefits
- Recognition is the sole and primary beneficiary of the spouse’s qualified retirement savings plan (401k, not IRA)
- Rights to roll over spouse’s IRA in the event of their death
What this means is that LGBT couples are now afforded equal marriage rights that include estate and financial planning. While it may sound simple to add your spouse as a beneficiary or develop and estate plan for your family, the process can be complicated. Here are a few tips:
- Review investment accounts and beneficiaries
- Estate planning review
- Living Will & Trust
- Power of attorney for health and financial matters
- Final arrangements document
Many couples may have these documents in place which is good. I recommend reviewing them with and estate planning attorney and a financial professional.
For more information on investment reviews and financial planning, please make an appointment with Shanna Tingom of Heritage Financial Strategies at 480-397-1184.