DOMA overturned, estate planning questions remain after decision

With the Supreme Court ruling last week that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, many same-sex couples around the country might have questions about how this ruling will affect them, especially those who live in states where same-sex marriage is not legal. In Pennsylvania, same-sex marriage is still not legal.

However, this ruling could open up many advantages for same-sex couples, but much will need to be worked out in the coming weeks and months. For same-sex couples who are legally married, many federal benefits will be available, especially those related to estate planning and tax purposes, although it isn't entirely clear how the ruling will work for those who are married in one state where same-sex marriage is legal, and then live or move to another state where it is not.

As these questions are worked out, it might be important for all couples to assess their estate planning needs. Sometimes legal documents can assist in ensuring their loved ones have a clear picture of their wishes, and can help with the transfer of assets upon the death of a loved one.

Although estate planning can sometimes be difficult to discuss, it can help ensure that a person's wishes are followed, and that families understand exactly what their loved one wanted. Without them, a family might be forced to guess what their relative may have wanted, which can sometimes also lead to family arguments. At a time that can be already emotionally difficult, it can be helpful for families to have clear guidance.

Source: The Inquirer, "Your Money: If Pa. allows same-sex marriage, check benefits," Erin E. Arvedlund, July 2, 2013

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