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Estate taxes now the same for all married couples

Estate planning can be a very complex process, even if you do not consider yourself to have a vast estate. Simply ensuring that your assets are protected and given to the party or parties that you wish in a reasonable amount of time with limited tax implications can be enough to make some people put off the entire process of creating wills or trusts and more.

Laws surrounding estates and the distribution of assets can change which makes the process even more confusing at times. A recent ruling in New York now prevents same-sex spouses from having to pay highter estate taxes than their heterosexual counterparts upon the death of a spouse. Previously, partners in a same-sex marriage were subject to a different scale of estate taxes. However, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, these couples will receive equal treatment. That, in this case, means equal taxation. 

For same-sex partners that have previously paid the higher tax burden for estate taxes, there will be refunds issued. Any refund should be processed within three years of the return year. Going forward, gays will be subject to the same estate taxes, such as an inheritance tax, for the same reasons as everyone else.

The tax implications of estate planning can be a fluctuating target with new laws such as this arising at times. When you determine that it is time for you to create yor own estate plan, it can be best to work with a legal professional to be sure you understand all laws.

Source: Syracuse.com, “Same-sex spouses in New York can get estate tax refunds,” Glenn Coin, July 23, 2013

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