» Estate Planning Attorney With Hook Law Center Explains Post-DOMA Rule Changes For Taxes, Veterans’ Benefits

Estate Planning Attorney With Hook Law Center Explains Post-DOMA Rule Changes For Taxes, Veterans’ Benefits

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 14, 2013 – Two recent announcements show U.S. government agencies will differ in how they implement a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

In June, 2013, the Court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits to legally-married same-sex couples. As Virginia estate planning attorney Andrew Hook explained, that left those couples in a limbo between state and federal law.

“In the eyes of the states in which they married, and other states recognizing same-sex marriages, those couples were legally wed,” Hook said. “But according to the federal government, they were not, and therefore were not entitled to any federal benefits bestowed upon opposite-sex couples.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling invalidating that provision of DOMA, numerous U.S. government agencies have scrambled to figure out exactly how and to what extent to implement that change in law. Agencies have recently begun issuing guidance – the Social Security Administration was one of the first to do so, announcing in August, 2013, that it was actively processing spousal claims for retirement benefits for same-sex couples.

A pair of more recent announcements illustrate a divide in how the rule changes will affect same-sex couples with respect to various federal benefits.

On August 29, 2013, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that for all federal tax purposes, same-sex married couples would be recognized as legally married by the U.S. government. Importantly, that benefit is extended to those couples regardless of their current residence. Therefore, a same-sex couple who wed in Massachusetts, for example, but relocate to Virginia, where their marriage is not recognized, will be permitted to file joint federal tax returns, and will be required to declare themselves “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.”

Next, on September 4, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a letter to Congress that some married same-sex couples would be eligible for veterans’ benefits. Unlike the tax benefits, this announcement applies only to those couples currently residing in states where their marriages are recognized. The rules governing veterans’ benefits are written into laws passed by Congress. Expanding the benefits to cover same-sex couples nationwide would likely require Congressional action or additional judicial action.

“In some respects, the picture is a little clearer for these couples, but in others, it is only more muddy,” Hook added. “I recommend that anyone who is unsure of their federal benefits speak to a qualified veterans and estate planning attorney.”

Hook Law Center
295 Bendix Road, Suite 170
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452-1294
Phone: 757-399-7506
Fax: 757-397-1267

SUFFOLK
5806 Harbour View Blvd.
Suite 203
Suffolk VA 23435
Phone: 757-399-7506
Fax: 757-397-1267
http://www.hooklawcenter.com/

  • First-party and third-party special needs trusts protect benefit eligibility
    Individuals with special needs often depend on government benefits in order to afford things that many of us take for granted — including health care, education, healthy food and a safe home. But when someone with special needs acquires significant assets for any reason, their eligibility for government benefits may be jeopardized. Special needs trusts [...]
  • Elder advocacy group urges Congress to help seniors in 2014
    The National Council on Aging (NCOA) recently released a list of five recommendations for Congress to help American seniors in 2014. 1. Strengthen the Older Americans Act (OAA). The OAA provides funding for critical services for seniors living independently at home, including nutrition, disease prevention, transportation and caregiver support. NCOA claims that funding has not [...]
  • Medicaid Rule Change Strengthens Home- and Community-Based Care
    Millions of low- and fixed-income Americans depend on Medicaid for health care. Many are fortunate enough to receive that care in their homes or at nearby facilities. Unfortunately, some have no choice but to receive treatment in nursing homes and in other institutional settings that may be nowhere near their homes, friends and family. Such [...]
  • Four Legal Documents for Managing an Incapacitated Parent’s Affairs
    When an elderly parent becomes incapacitated or terminally ill, the management of the parent’s financial and medical affairs often falls to one of the children. By having the proper legal documents in place, you can help ensure that this process goes smoothly. They help to keep an already difficult situation from becoming much worse because [...]
  • Companies to Rehire Boomers as Post-Retirement Consultants
    Large numbers of baby boomers will reach retirement age soon, and that could result in a shortage of knowledgeable and experienced managers at many companies. To fix this problem, many executives are planning to rehire boomers as independent contractors after they retire. According to executive recruiting firm Lucas Group, 27 percent of executives at small- [...]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required