Legal & Financial

Financial planning for gay and lesbian families

The Sacramento Bee explores financial planning for gay couples who live in California [and elsewhere]. Financial experts say couples should be paying close attention to such issues as tax planning, health care, inheritance and child guardianship.

“The estate planning and legal issues are still going to be there. And they’re the same as with any married couple, only far more complicated for same-gender couples,” says estate planning attorney Penny Brown.

Under federal law, same-sex couples are not entitled to spousal Social Security and other benefits if one partner retires or dies. That’s why it’s imperative that couples do separate retirement planning.

The need for retirement planning is especially important in same-gender households where one partner works and one stays home with children. In some cases, it can be advantageous to have larger life insurance policies on the working spouse.

Due to differences between state and federal tax laws, same-sex couples have more complicated tax-filing requirements.