The Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, recently handed down what will likely be one of the most important decisions of the 21st century in U.S. v. Windsor. If you are a member of the GLBT community and you are currently married, or plan to marry in the near future, the decision in Windsor will likely mean that you need to make some important changes to your estate plan, including:
- Incorporating the unlimited marital deduction into your estate plan. You can now leave your spouse an unlimited amount in estate assets without worrying about estate and gift taxes.
- Planning for portability. You will also now be able to use the unused portion of your spouse’s lifetime exemption from the gift and estate tax.
- Changing beneficiary designations. You and your spouse are now entitled to Social Security retirement and survivor benefits. You can also name your spouse as a beneficiary on qualified retirement accounts and use the roll-over option for those accounts.
- Plan on next-of-kin. Your spouse can now legally be considered your next-of-kin for emergency purposes.
- Share your minor children. Instead of picking who has the legal right to medical and school records, you can now both be listed as having access to them.
The list of changes that may need to be made to your estate plan is long. Sit down with your estate planning attorney to decide if your estate plan needs updating after Windsor.
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