Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

 Whether or not marriage will be a financial win depends on a couple’s age, income, assets, debts, where they live, whether they have kids and a raft of still unresolved legal issues.

Representative Barney Frank, of the Dodd-Frank bill to regulate the banking industry, is getting married and that’s as good a reason as any to remember just what difficulties lay ahead of him. I say difficulties because Rep. Frank is also among the most prominent members of the Gay community, so he knows all too well the difficulties and will likely remain a public example.

Forbes and Deborah L. Jacobs were quick to the punch with this piece on Frank and the trials and tribulations of same-sex marriage, and it’s worth a look. The central point, as many readers will know, is that same-sex marriage exists in a rather awkward nexus of laws, one that requires a great deal of work. Where it exists, it exists with all the legal weight of marriage, and that means the various financial duties and liabilities. Of course, even where it does exist, in a very real way it also doesn’t. This is because the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 still rules out same-sex marriage by definition. That statute is what rules the IRS – and it has to enforce those rules – which is especially important in the realm of estate planning, even where there aren’t tremendous assets to guard.

That said, though, there still are legal moves to be made and rules to thoroughly understand. Perhaps with another nod to Frank, the Journal of Financial Planning recently offered a piece on the estate planning issues that affect non-married couples and same-sex marriages alike and it too is worth your consideration.

Reference: Forbes (January 26, 2012) “Tying the Knot Isn’t All Love and Roses: By Marrying, Barney Frank and His Partner Take on Legal Duties, Too

                The Journal of Financial Planning (February, 2012) “Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples: What Financial Planners Need to Know

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.