Retirement Planning for Gay Couples – Part 2
Retirement Planning for Gay Couples,
Part 2: Estate Tax, Wills, Health Care
An earlier blog post covered retirement planning for gay couples related to Social Security, Medicare, and retirement benefits. This post covers estate taxes, wills and health care.
Same-sex couples are not longer subject to a maximum 40% federal estate tax rate on inheritances over $5.45 million (in 2016). They can now pass unlimited sums to a surviving spouse without paying estate tax. State and local estate and inheritance tax laws vary by jurisdiction.
There are options for minimizing the impact of estate and inheritance tax costs for unmarried same-sex couples. One way is to purchase a life insurance policy that provides a benefit to fund the costs. Another way is to start a gifting program that moves assets over a period of years from one partner to another. Federal law allows tax-free gifts up to $14,000 (in 2016).
If you are an unmarried same-sex couple and you want to leave your estate to your partner, be very specific about it in your will or trust. Check the estate laws in your home state to see how they apply to your situation. Seek advice from professional advisors to consider additional steps that may be necessary
Same-sex married couples are now eligible for spousal impoverishment protection through Medicaid. Spousal impoverishment helps make sure that the spouse still at home will have the money needed to pay for living expenses by protecting a certain amount of the couple’s resources, as well as at least a portion of the nursing home resident’s income, for the use of the spouse who is still at home. This benefit does not apply to unmarried same-sex couples unless they are in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships and live in a state that recognizes that type of relationship.
Some good news regarding health care and unmarried same-sex partners, A 2012 study by the Human Rights Campaign (https://issuu.com/humanrightscampaign/docs/corporateequalityindex_2012) found that 84 percent of major corporate employers have extended retiree healthcare coverage to domestic partners.
But there are still a few things to think about if you are an unmarried same-sex couple. First, it is important to obtain a medical power for attorney if you want your partner to make medical decision, have access to your medical information, and, in some cases, visit you in the hospital. Second, unmarried same-sex couples who buy long-term care coverage together should double check with their insurance company to make sure that they recognize their relationship.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor
Partnership Wealth Management is comprehensive financial services company. We are committed to providing our clients with financial planning and wealth management services to help them make the most of their investments. At Partnership Wealth Management we have a long history of working with the LGBT community. Among our many services we offer financial planning for gay couples and lesbian couples as well as estate planning for gay couples and lesbian couples. Financial planning is an important part of preparing for the future. Contact us today to get started: www.partnershipwm.com.