Estate planning advice for same-sex couples

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Monday, December 21, 2015.

Now that same-sex marriage is a reality, individuals in this type of relationship may need to reexamine their estate plans. That focus should include not only bequests, but also retirement planning.

The IRS is also following suit. Specifically, the IRS recently issued Notice 2015-86, which explains how the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges impacts qualified retirement plans. Since such plans must comply with the obligations of Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, the IRS's guidance is important.

Yet it goes without saying that the IRS's language is also complex. An individual planning his or her estate may want to understand whether a qualified retirement plan will now extend benefits to his or her same-sex partner or spouse. Our law firm focuses on retirement and estate planning and can help interpret this complicated area of law.

In fact, we provide an overview of our approach to estate planning on our firm's website. That approach goes far beyond simply drafting a will and revocable and irrevocable trusts. Specifically, we want to help individuals plan for needs before they arise, such as long-term care or assisted living.

In that same proactive vein, we generally recommend executing living wills and powers of attorney to provide for decision-making authority in the event of an individual's incapacity. If there are children involved, we also recommend a guardianship or conservatorship to plan for any contingency. Finally, it is also important to designate an individual to administer the estate and handle any probate matters that may arise.

Source: Accounting Today, "IRS Applies Obergefell Decision to Retirement Plans," Michael Cohn, Dec. 11, 2015

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