Same Sex Marriage – Obergefell v. Hodges
The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was delivered by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. The outcome of the case held that on the basis of equal protection gay couples are entitled under state law to marriage licenses in all fifty (50) states. This is very similar to U.S. District Court cases that have changed gay marriage in other states that do not have specific legislation. This was a landmark decision that changed the law in nearly twenty (20) states.
The case was built on the Supreme Court’s decision in United States vs. Windsor, (2013), that required the Federal Government to honor same sex marriages that were already legal under state law. The Court extended the protection to all states, and held that marriage is a fundamental right.
If you are a gay couple that has put off estate planning or correcting real estate deeds or other legal papers, now is the time to consult an attorney for your estate planning needs. Since same sex marriage is now legal in all fifty (50) states, there is no reason that you and your spouse cannot enjoy the same legal protections as other married couples. There are many advantages to holding joint property. In addition, Pennsylvania has no Inheritance Tax for property passed between spouses.
Moreover, it may be advantageous to create deeds with real estate held as tenants by entirety, so that these types of assets also pass between spouses at death.
If you are interested in this case, or have questions about your rights for estate planning, please contact Steven P. Miner, Esquire, at Daley Zucker Meilton & Miner, LLC, to set up a consultation.