The recent Supreme Court ruling in Obergfell v Hodges allowed for same-sex couples around the country to enter into legally recognized marriages. The ruling is a landmark decision, and one with significant practical implications for anyone in an LGBTQ relationship living in Oklahoma, Kansas or Missouri. Prior to this decision, a patchwork of state laws addressed the same-sex marriage issue, but now the legal basis for LGBTQ marriage rights has been leveled across the country. Here is what you should know.
Same-Sex Marriage in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergfell allows same-sex couples in Kansas and Oklahoma to enter into legally recognized marriages just like any other couple. Further, couples who have entered into a same-sex marriage in another state, or who plan on moving to a state that previously didn’t recognize such marriages, can now rest assured that the legal status of their relationship will not be in doubt in their new state.
Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
Marriage brings a host of benefits that go well beyond being able to call yourself a married couple, especially when it comes to estate planning. For example, a legally married couple has the right to inherit from one another upon the other spouse’s death, while couples that are not legally married do not. This is true regardless of how long a couple has lived together, or the statements they might have made about their intention to leave their partners an inheritance.
Similarly, married couples also have certain rights when it comes to health care. For example, spouses have the legal right to visit each other in the hospital, while non-married couples are not automatically afforded such protections. Married couples can also receive health care coverage when a spouse receives full coverage from an insurer, while partners who are not legally recognized as spouses can be refused such coverage.
Beyond all that, there are also the tax benefits, gifting benefits, and more.
Same-Sex Marriage and Divorces
While it may seem counterintuitive to think of divorce as a right, it is a legal option afforded to married couples just like any other. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, same-sex couples can now get divorced just like any other legally married couple. Like marriage, a divorce significantly affects a host of estate planning issues. For example, divorced couples no longer have the right to inherit from their former spouses upon that spouse’s death. Similarly, any estate planning tools a married couple created while married, or in light of their marriage, will need to be modified if and when the couple divorces.
As with any major change in the law, talking to your attorney about any questions or concerns you might have is always your best option.