The U.S. Supreme Court decision relating to same-sex marriages will have far-reaching effects.
“That’s true not just for the specific issue that was before the Court, but for other federal laws and regulations that affect estate planning for spouses,” according to the article. “One of the cases decided by the court today, United States v. Windsor, involved an important tax break for married couples. Called the marital deduction, it allows spouses to transfer as much as they want to each other, either during life or at death, without having to pay any federal estate or gift tax, provided that the recipient spouse is a U.S. citizen. Until now, same-sex couples didn’t get this break because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA. Section 3 of that law defines marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman,” and spouse as ‘a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’
“As a result, same-sex married couples have been forced to pay federal estate tax on their inheritance if it exceeded the tax-free amount.”
Other federal estate planning benefits are also now finally available to married gay couples that had previously been denied to them.