Lavin & Parisi, Attorneys at LawLavin & Parisi, Attorneys at Law
Free Initial Consultation
Call 815-261-4894

Supreme Court decides same-sex partners cases

Get Started
Photo of Karen Lavin

The Supreme Court recently weighed in on several cases of significant importance to same-sex couples. In the short-term, the case with perhaps the most immediate impact for same-sex partners in Illinois may be the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act. In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court required the federal government to provide same-sex couples with state-recognized marriages the same federal benefits couples in opposite-sex marriages enjoy.

The ruling will have a big change in three areas: estate taxes, social security benefits and veterans' benefits. Prior to Windsor, many surviving same-sex partners had to pay an estate tax, even though similarly situated survivors of opposite-sex marriages received an exemption.

Likewise, during DOMA, same-sex partners could not access key Social Security marital benefits, such as the spousal benefit (allowing a spouse to receive 50 percent of their partner's benefits, if the sum exceeds their own), the survivor benefit (allowing a surviving spouse to receive their deceased partner's benefits instead, if the partner's benefits are higher) and the death benefit (a one-time payment to help pay funeral expenses). Taken together, these benefits can make a huge financial difference. Further, prior to DOMA, same-sex partners were denied benefits and pensions as to veterans' benefits, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" notwithstanding.

Windsor opens the door to greater benefits, but only for states that recognize same-sex marriage. Until then, Illinois same-sex couples need to take extra care in planning their estates, such as drafting a power of attorney, a life partnership agreement, property planning documents as well as wills and trusts.

Source: Center for American Progress, "DOMA's Impact on LGBT Older Americans," Andrew Cray & Sunny Frothingham, July 1, 2013.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Get In Touch Today

Get A Start On A Better Tomorrow.
Call 815-261-4894.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy