On Monday, the US Supreme Court decided that same sex couples who get married must also be given the same benefits of marriage under state law. As background, in 2015, the Supreme Court announced that same sex couples have the same right to be married as opposite sex couples. The LBGT community rejoiced.
In this week’s case Pavan v. Smith, Arkansas refused to write down the non-biological same-sex spouse’s name on the child’s birth certificate while at the same time requiring that the mother’s husband be put on the birth certificate even if there was no biological relationship. Mondays opinion takes those rights a step further stating that a State may not deny married same-sex couples from the “constellation of benefits” that are afforded to opposite sex couples.
This decision makes the lives of married same sex couples easier when it comes to estate planning, but in this ever changing legal world, it is still best to plan for flexibility.
Powers of attorney can provide important access of your accounts to your spouse in the event a bank denies access. HIPPA waivers allow you to choose who has access to your medical records, whether they are married to you or not. Advance Directives allow you to appoint the person who is in charge of your medical decisions, and in Oregon, you may also choose to appoint a person in charge of how you are buried or cremated.
Same sex couples have many of the same estate planning issues as a traditional couple would, but face many more potential challenges. Revocable living trusts can be of great use when properly crafted. Speak to an experienced estate planning attorney about your specific situation. Protect your family and those that you love.