Pride Month Q&A: Planning steps to take now

    During Pride month, we highlight common questions about tax & estate planning posed by LGBT families. 

    Q: Is the tax code different for same-sex married couples?

    A: Since 2015, legally married same-sex couples can enjoy the same benefits − and burdens − afforded by federal law as do heterosexual married couples. The application of federal tax rules for married same-sex couples presents tax and estate planning opportunities that may not have been previously considered. With Pride month upon us, now is a great time to plan ahead for your loved ones.

    Planning Steps to Take Now

    Here are some things you should be thinking about:

    1. Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Revocable Trusts

    We are all so busy with our day-to-day lives that finalizing an estate plan is often put off for far too long. A properly prepared and executed estate plan can prevent your loved ones from being left out of your estate. Powers of attorney can help ensure that, if tragedy strikes, someone you trust is empowered to manage your affairs and make decisions about your health care with your wishes in mind.

    2. Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, and LTC Insurance 

    Young families can be derailed by the untimely death or disability of a spouse. Long-term care from an illness, disability, or aging can cost more than $10,000 per month. Make sure you have adequate insurance to replace lost income, pay off a mortgage, put kids through college, or cover the costs of long-term care. Some insurance carriers have created combined life and LTC policies to give you the biggest bang for your buck.

    3. Strategic Charitable Giving 

    Changes in current tax law mean that fewer taxpayers can benefit from their annual charitable contributions. Thoughtful advance charitable planning can enhance deductions and possibly achieve estate planning objectives.

    4. Proper Titling of Assets & Beneficiary Designations

    Ensure that the titling of your assets is coordinated with your estate plan and, unless you want a probate court to decide where your retirement funds will go after your death, it is essential to confirm that you have proper beneficiary designations. These issues are especially crucial for any couple who does not get married. 

    5. Planning With Trusts 

    With the federal estate tax exemption currently at $11.4 million, individuals have an opportunity to transfer significant wealth. Strategic planning with trusts can protect assets from creditors while allowing the wealth you create to grow into a great legacy for your loved ones, their children, and future generations of your family.

    Subject matter expertise

    • Lawrence M. Lipoff
      Contact Lawrence Lawrence+Lipoff
      Lawrence Lipoff

      CPA, TEP, CEBS, Director, Trusts & Estates Tax Services

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    Any advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice specific to, among other things, your individual facts, circumstances and jurisdiction. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its partners, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.