Estate Administration and Assets of Same Sex Couples

On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling with regard to the right of same sex couples to marry. The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, was argued in April, with the decision handed down in late June. Therefore, the marriage of same sex couples must now be recognized in all states. Furthermore, this ruling greatly impacts estate planning and administration, both during periods of incapacity and after the death of the first spouse for a same sex couple.  Likewise, California has already seen changes with regard to same sex marriage and estate administration; however, this Supreme Court ruling means that the rights of same sex couples will be more uniform throughout the nation.

3 Types of Assets Impacted By Same Sex Marriage Ruling

Federal recognition of same sex marriage will impact many aspects of estate administration. One such area that the ruling will effect is the handling and titling of certain assets. Therefore, the following are three examples of assets that may be impacted with regard to estate administration for same sex couples, either during periods of incapacity or following the death of one spouse:

  1. Retirement assets. While surviving spouses in a same sex marriage can now inherit an IRA as a rollover IRA instead of an inherited IRA. Most noteworthy, this allows the surviving spouse to defer withdrawing funds from the account until age 70 ½.
  2. Social Security benefits. As a result, now surviving spouses in a same sex marriage  qualify as a spouse for Social Security benefits.
  3. The primary residence. If the primary residence is sold, same sex married couples can now exclude up to $500,000 of gains on the sale of the property. Yet, previously same sex married couples may have been treated as “single” and therefore could only exclude $250,000 in gains.

With such complex laws and a constantly changing landscape, estate administration is a difficult process for those without experience. Fortunately, we are here to help. We encourage you to learn more by checking out our client testimonials today.

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Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman

Attorney

The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307
 

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