A US Supreme Court decision is in the making that will affect advisors to same-sex couples. The question is of extending the marital estate tax deduction to same-sex couples in states where it is legal for them to be married.
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The case is Windsor vs. US and the judge ordered that Edith Windsor be refunded $363,000 that was taken from her because she was not allowed to take the marital deduction from her recently deceased female spouse. Their union was recognized by the state of New York. The case was sent to the Supreme Court without waiting for an appellate court decision.
The Declaration of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared to be unconstitutional by a New York federal court. If the Supreme Court upholds that DOMA is unconstitutional, the 1996 law will no longer be able to keep same-sex spouses from receiving income and estate tax marital deductions
or, for that matter, Social Security or pension benefits.
It is practically a certainty that the law will be brought before the Supreme Court within two years. The Windsor case is cited as being groundbreaking. Despite the federal ruling, many advisors are counseling same-sex couples not to change their planning for now.
But they don’t think such couples will need to wait much longer since the current administration is no longer defending DOMA from legal challenges