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Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

The state of Pennsylvania now recognizes same-sex marriages and as a result, same-sex couples now have more opportunity within the area of estate planning.  If you are in a same-sex marriage and signed estate planning documents in Pennsylvania before the change in legislation, it is a good idea to take the time now to revisit your will and other estate documents to ensure your documents will still produce the desired results.

The legal recognition of same-sex marriages came to be because of the landmark “United States v. Windsor” case which fought against the differential treatment of same-sex married couples.  This case stimulated the U.S. Supreme Court to deem that applying the federal definitions of “spouse” and “marriage” only to heterosexuals was unconstitutional.

Same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Pennsylvania on May 20, 2014, when a U.S. Federal District Court found that a statutory ban on recognizing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Estate Planning Opportunities for Same-Sex Couples

Thanks to the progression of the Pennsylvania and U.S. legal systems, the benefits that were once only available for heterosexual couples can now be taken advantage of by people in same-sex marriages.

For example, prior to May 20, 2014, same-sex couples who were married in a different state would be subject to a 15% tax rate on any assets that were inherited by a same-sex partner.  Because Pennsylvania didn’t recognize a surviving same-sex partner as a “spouse”, they could not benefit from the 0% tax rate that was available to heterosexual couples.  Same-sex couples can now take advantage of this 0% tax rate.

Beyond the addition to Pennsylvania inheritance tax savings, there are other benefits that same-sex couples can now take advantage of.  We encourage same-sex couples to revisit their beneficiary designations and estate planning documents with our estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh who will help ensure that they are accessing all of the Federal and State tax benefits that are now available.

If you are part of a same-sex couple and have questions about estate planning, contact our trusted attorneys at Fingeret Law right away.  We will be happy to answer any questions you might have and want to help you take advantage of your constitutional rights.

Let us help you plan for the future.  To discuss your specific needs with an estate planning attorney in Pittsburgh, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.

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