Whether married or not, estate planning is essential for same sex partners to ensure that their families and futures are protected.

Resources from The Virtual Attorney

Estate Planning For Same Sex Couples in Illinois

A detailed explanation of Illinois Same Sex Marriage Laws and the Windsor case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. That culmination of events in late 2013 and early 2014 led to drastic changes in the protections and privileges afforded to same-sex couples in Illinois. The article continues to explain potential tax benefits that married same-sex couples in Illinois can capitalize on with some estate planning.

Recent Tax Law Changes and Their Effect on Same Sex Couples

A 2014 summary of tax law changes that may affect same sex couples, including the ability for married couples to file joint returns and utilize the unlimited gift tax exclusion between spouses.

Estate Planning for Co=Habitating Couples

A guide for "must-have" estate planning documents for unmarried co-habitating couples, both gay and straight. Remember, that, should something happen to one of you, laws still favor your blood relatives over each other. A simple estate plan is necessary in order to override that presumption.

Not Married but Living Together? There's an Estate Plan for That

Details on different estate planning tools and documents that can ensure you are protecting your partner should something happen to you.

Co-Habitation Agreements: Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

Unlike married couples that separate or divorce, unmarried co-habitating couples- whether homosexual or heterosexual- are not afforded the same protections, rights and remedies in the event a relationship falls apart. Most states will enforce an agreement between the two individuals on how assets should be divided in the event a relationship falls apart.

Resources for gay and lesbian estate planning from around the Internet

GLAD | Legal Planning for Same Sex Couples: Planning for the Unexpected

General information about the importance of estate planning with your partner, how to get started and what to expect out of the process.

Bank Rate | Estate Tax Issues of Same Sex Marriage

A summary of tax laws applicable to same sex spouses and certain benefits now available after recent changes in federal law.

Mass Mutual | Estate Planning Issues for Lesbian and Gay Couples*

(Note, that since this article was written, The US Supreme Court has struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which means that same sex married couples do indeed now benefit from tax benefits afforded opposite sex married couples.)

AARP |  Estate Planning for LGBT Couples*

(Note, that since this article was written, he US Supreme Court has ruled that all married couples- both opposite sex and same sex- can benefit from federal tax privileges afforded to married couples)

Prudential | Financial Planning for Same Sex Couples After Windsor

A succinct list of considerations for same sex couples covering everything from retirement accounts to estate planning and employee benefits as well as details about recent changes in laws as they apply to same sex couples and their implication on financial and estate planning.

TIAA-CREF | Love and Marriage: Financial Planning for Same Sex Couples

A brief article highlighting some of the more substantial benefits now available to married same sex couples under federal law.


Estate Planning for Illinois Same Sex Couples, An Informational Brocure (DOWNLOAD)

Do you know an individual in a committed same-sex relationship? If so, feel free to pass along this simple informational brochure highlighting the benefits and important of doing some simple estate planning to protect his or her partner.

LGBT Organizations Fact Sheet Series | After DOMA: What It Means For You

A downloadable handout with detailed information about what the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn major portions of the Defense of Marriage Act means to you and your relationship.

Federal Laws on Same Sex Marriage

Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C

United States v. Windsor

Landmark 2013 U.S. Supreme Court Decision that held the definition of "marriage: and "spouse" to only heterosexual unions was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

GLAAD | Frequently Asked Questions

A list of frequently asked questions and responses about everything you need to know about the Defense of Marriage Act and how the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Windsor affects you and your family.

Lamda Legal | The Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act: What it Means

A concise summary of what the US Supreme Court's decision in the Windsor case means for the future of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights from the nation's preeminent LGBT advocacy group.

Human Rights Campaign | Overview of Federal Benefits Granted to Married Couples*

(Note, that after the decision in Windsor, these benefits are now available to same-sex married couples as well, but only couples married in states that permit same-sex partners to marry.)


Illinois Laws on Same Sex Marriage

Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act (750 ILCS 5)

This is Illinois' marriage statute. Note that this version contains both the previously enacted text, defining marriage between a man and a woman, and the new text, as amended by SB10, which permits marriage between same-sex individuals. Read the parentheticals in order to determine whether each section refers to the old version of the statute or the updated amended version.

Wisconsin Laws on Same Sex Marriage

Wisconsin State Constitution

The laws of the state of Wisconsin currently prohibit same-sex marriage. The ban, through a somewhat attenuated procedure was eventually written into the state constitution, noted here. However; the ban is in question, as recently, judges have ruled it unconstitutional. See the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision below.

Wolf . Walker

Wisconsin case challenging the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. On September 4, 2014, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held the ban unconstitutional.

Minnesota Laws on Same Sex Marriage

Minnesota Legislative Reference Library | Resources on Same Sex Marriage in Minnesota

A comprehensive collection of resources on same sex marriage in Minnesota, including statutes, legislative history, articles and additional resources.