The Supreme Court has just ruled that gay marriage has to be allowed everywhere. This is a huge case, and it's a landmark decision that will go down as one of the biggest rulings in U.S. history.
While it's true that gay couples in New York have been allowed to marry for a few years now, it's still important to look at how this ruling impacts those who may want to move to other states for work, to be closer to family, or for any other reason. Essentially, all other states are going to have to catch up to New York and the states that were already allowing gay marriage before this ruling.
This could be very big from an estate planning perspective, for example, as it means assets and wealth can pass easily from one partner to the next upon death. The entire case revolved around one man wanting to be listed as the surviving spouse on his partner's death certificate, and he finally can. This gives gay couples the same rights when a death occurs that other couples would have.
It's also important when it comes to the power of attorney and rights if there is a medical emergency. Before the marriages were recognized, there were cases in which only relatives were allowed in a hospital room or allowed to make medical decisions on the behalf of the afflicted individual. Now, couples can rest assured that they will legally be recognized as relatives by marriage and given these same rights.
Whether you're doing your estate planning in New York or thinking of moving, you need to know all of the new rights this ruling provides.
Source: Forbes, "How The Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Ruling Impacts Estate Planning," Danielle and Andy Mayoras, June 26, 2015