Clearly, it is difficult for laypeople to remain up-to-date, and this is one of the reasons why you should develop an ongoing relationship with an estate planning attorney.
When it comes to laws that impact estate planning, there have certainly been some changes that are relevant to members of the LGBT community. Legal wrangling has been going on for years, and a significant breakthrough occurred when the federal government recognized same-sex marriages after a Supreme Court ruling was handed down in 2013.
The case of the United States vs. Windsor was initiated by a New York woman named Edith Windsor. She was married to her partner, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. Spyer died in 2009, and she left Windsor a good bit of money.
There is an unlimited marital estate tax deduction that allows you to transfer unlimited assets to your spouse free of the estate tax. However, at the time of Spyer’s death, the federal government did not recognize same-sex marriages. As a result, the IRS required Windsor to pay a $363,053 estate tax bill.
Windsor filed a lawsuit, and a lower court found in her favor, but the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the court found the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, and the rest is history.
Indiana Same-Sex Marriages
We practice law in the state of Indiana, and the laws in our state have recently changed with regard to same-sex marriages. After a court ruling, same-sex marriages were made legal on October 7th of 2014.
LGBT Estate Planning
Estate planning has always been especially important for same-sex couples in committed relationships, because they could not enjoy certain protections that are afforded to legally married couples.
Now that the laws have changed, there are some inherent safeguards. However, estate planning is important for all legally married couples, and it always has been. No one has ever suggested that a legally married opposite sex couple should go through life without an estate plan.
There are various different things to take into consideration, and you should act in a fully informed manner, regardless of your sexual orientation.
In addition to the matter of same-sex couples, single members of the LGBT community should also take action when it comes to estate planning.
If you don’t have an estate plan in place, after your passing the state would distribute your assets using intestate succession laws. You can be certain that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes if you plan your estate.
Schedule a Free Consultation
We are up-to-date on current laws, and we are sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community. If you would like to discuss things with a licensed attorney, contact us through this page to set up a free consultation: Indianapolis IN Estate Planning Attorneys.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.