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What estate tax benefits are available to same-sex couples?

Until recently, same-sex couples could not take advantage of the same tax benefits that heterosexual couples could. That changed on June 25, 2015, with the Supreme Court's ruling on the legality of gay marriage. However, that historic decision did more than just grant same-sex couples the right marry. It also granted them the right to several different kinds of tax breaks. But, what main type of benefit is now available to same-sex couples?

One estate tax issue that now benefits same-sex couples is the gift tax. While the IRS allows someone to give assets and property to any other individual, the amount of that gift cannot exceed $14,000 in a year. Any amount over the $14,000 limit is noted and kept on file by the IRS and counts against the lifetime total gift exclusion for the donor. Should the donor exceed this total amount, they may have to pay a tax.

However, this tax gift exclusion does not apply to heterosexual married couples. A donor did not face a lifetime gift limit for any amount of assets or property that was given to their spouse because the IRS did not place any limit on what one spouse could give to another. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in the nation, same-sex couples can also avail themselves of this benefit as well.

Any Florida resident who wants to know what other benefits are available to same-sex couples may want to speak to an estate planning attorney to discover which of these benefits may be most useful to them.

Source: bankrate.com, "Estate tax issues of same-sex marriage," Accessed March 19, 2016

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