When the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states, many LGBT couples in Florida flocked to the courthouses, altars and everywhere else they could to get hitched. For the younger couples, there was not much to worry about, at least not any time soon. But older gay couples who are finally able to marry may want to consider the impact of doing so when it comes to will planning.
Now-married gay couples fall under the same requirements and restraints as a straight couple. This especially applies to inheritance laws. Florida follows intestate statutes. This means that, if one spouse dies without leaving a will, it is up to the state to divide assets. If you have no children together, surrogate, adopted or otherwise, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate. But if there are descendants, the estate is split in different ways, which can be further explained by an estate planning attorney.
Wills and trusts must also be considered when it comes to factors like Social Security benefits and the like. In some instances, they may continue for the surviving partner. This is a very tricky area, and it is highly recommended you speak with an attorney about it.
Above all, the Supreme Court decision brought much joy to older gay couples who may have been waiting a lifetime to finally get married. But because older couples, gay or straight, are statistically closer to leaving an estate to a surviving partner, it may be beneficial to ensure your estate planning documents are in order so power of attorney, beneficiaries and other important titles are given.