Need to Know: Obergefell v. Hodges Decision on Same Sex Marriage Will Impact Planning

Robin Weingast Obergefell v. Hodges    This month, the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that was poised to determine the future of marriage equality in the United States. With their 5-4 ruling, the Court struck down state-level bans on same-sex marriages and mandated that all states must recognize a same-sex marriage, regardless of where it occurred. This means that all married same-sex couples are now entitled to full benefits under the law – in all 50 states (and US territories).

As marriage equality advocates rejoice nationwide, the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is here to help you understand what this ruling means for planning:

Healthcare: Someone in a same-sex marriage can no longer be excluded from their spouse’s healthcare, long-term care, or guardianship decisions.

– TaxesSame-sex couples will now enjoy federal and state-level tax benefits. They can file jointly on the state level – which was not possible previously in states where same-sex marriage was either banned or not recognized – and are eligible to take full advantage of all tax breaks.

– Survivorship: This issue was at the core of Obergefell v. Hodges. Although federal-level benefits have been available to same-sex surviving spouses since 2013, with this ruling, a surviving same-sex spouse will be legally recognized and entitled to all benefits, including those on the state level. This is particularly important when considering governmental benefits, custody of children, and any other financial benefits.

Intestacy: If a spouse dies without a legally recognized will (known as “intestacy”), the surviving same-sex spouse will have automatic spousal inheritance rights.

Understanding the new benefits available to same-sex couples is just the first step. As always, the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team recommends that all couples plan proactively and prepare themselves for all situations that may arise. Our team is here to work with you and make sure your wishes are followed out at all stages of your life. Contact us today to find out how we can help.