Same-Sex Couples and Estate Planning in California

Landmark California Supreme Court Ruling for Same-Sex Couples


Even if you don’t know Obergefell v. Hodges by name, you know the case by reputation, because it became a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year in California. The judges upheld the legality of same-sex couples to marry as a fundamental right by the Equal Protection and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Obergefell v. Hodges has turned into an important piece of U.S legislation even though same-sex couples were already legally able to marry in California prior to the Supreme Court ruling. The big question on the table is now ‘how will the new ruling impact the current state of same-sex marriages’.

Let’s take a quick look at how Obergefell v. Hodges affected estate plans, probate proceedings, and Trusts administration for same-sex couples.

1. Obergefell Simplifies Probate

The biggest impact of Obergefell v. Hodges is the ruling sets a nationwide standard of equality for all married couples, even in states where same-sex marriage isn’t legal. People in a same-sex marriage are now recognized as being the legal spouse of their partner in every single state, which means if a couple owns property outside of California, not in a will or trust, the spouse can inherit those assets without any legal issues.

2. How to Ensure Medical Rights for Your Spouse

The supreme court ruling now ensures that a spouse has medical rights if an issue occurs while traveling outside of California. Hospitals cannot deny legal spouse visitation rights or other benefits afforded to family members. Essentially, the new law helps set the tone that same-sex marriage is equal to “traditional” marriage in every single way and in every state.

3. How to Avoid Unnecessary Trust or Estate litigation

In the simplest terms, the supreme court affirmed that same-sex marriage equal to opposite-sex marriage. From a legal perspective, the ruling helps avoid any unnecessary litigation as there will no longer be any confusion as to what constitutes a legal marriage. Most probate or trust issues come about when there are grey areas in the law, disagreements between family, and confusion about the legality of something.

Obergefell v. Hodges helps get rid of those issues and makes the probate process much simpler for same-sex couples.

If you have any questions about estate planning for same-sex couples or need help with probate or trust administration, contact us at (800) 403-6078 for a FREE consultation. We look forward to working with you.

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Related Questions
  • Can registered domestic partners and married same-sex couples hold property as community property in California?
  • How can LGBTQ couples benefit from Estate Planning?
  • Should gay or lesbian couples have an estate plan in California?
  • What kind of estate plan should California same-sex couples have?
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