Once same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, it opened the door for gay couples to have the same advantages available to opposite-sex spouses. Though there are many personal reasons to marry, same-sex couples may also take the financial aspects into account when considering formalizing their relationship status. Though every state, including New York, has its own laws, there are many advantages available to married couples.
One of the first advantages is the ability to give monetary or property gifts to one's spouse without concern over the federal laws regarding taxable gift amounts. Before the law was changed, any gift over the $15,000 was subjected to the gift tax. In addition, married same-sex couples now can choose to receive their deceased spouse's higher Social Security benefit amounts if they exceed the amount that one would receive based on their own earnings.
Another benefit is that one can roll over a spouse's retirement account into one's own if the couple were married at the time of the partner's death. This tax-free option is not available to non-married partners, though they can be a beneficiary of a retirement account. There are a few drawbacks to marriage, such as becoming responsible for a spouse's medical bills when one partner dies. If a couple is married and one requires nursing home residency, the spouse's assets may be taken into consideration before any medical assistance could be applied.
Overall, countless same-sex couples have taken advantage of the protections afforded them by the 2015 ruling. According to recent data, an estimated 61 percent of same-sex couples elected to marry compared with the 39 percent before the federal decision. Marriage can have a profound impact on one's financial future. Those couples who are concerned about how their marriage may impact their future plans may wish to seek the guidance of a New York attorney who is experienced in this area of the law and how it applies to same-sex couples.