Gay Marriage in New York: Before You Take the Plunge

Gay couples: Think twice before running up to New York to tie the knot. Along with the rights and benefits of marriage come the responsibilities. And there are a few catches!

Firstly. The marriage will not be recognized in Florida. This means that any rights, benefits and responsibilities afford married couples in Florida will not be afforded to same-sex couples who marry out of state.

This is because of the Defense of marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, which precludes states from recognizing same-sex marriages that happen out-of-state. So no Social Security, spousal, death or survivor benefits, and no spousal Veteran’s benefits are available in Florida.

So what happens if a same-sex couple marries in New York and moves down to Florida….are they still married? Probably not — at least for now. Only time will answer these questions as more and more states adopt same-sex marriage.

The second catch is that being married may give your partner rights that you may not want to give. After all, may couples choose not to get married for a variety of reasons. Simply because same-sex marriage is available, does not mean you should take advantage.

For example, among other things, married couples have the right to take a portion of a deceased spouse’s estate, possible spousal support, responsibility for paying for nursing home care and the right to make health care decisions. All couples, especially senior citizens, need to address all these issues before deciding whether marriage serves these and other needs.

Whether married or not, these are issues that all couples face in planning their estate and long term care needs, and providing a legacy. For seniors, my opinion is that it is an unnecessary complication. Now gay people in New York have the absolute right to complicate things for themselves, too.

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Posted in Alice Reiter Feld Florida Elder Law Monday Memos, estate planning, gay marriage, lgbt
One comment on “Gay Marriage in New York: Before You Take the Plunge
  1. Hines says:

    You can always tell an expert! Thanks for ctonribtuing.

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