BOSTON, July 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The country recently celebrated the one year anniversary of a historic ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in the Windsor case. With that ruling, the Justices struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act ('DOMA') and opened the floodgates of federal benefits to same-sex couples, if they choose to get married. While an increasing number of states have allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry, most still do not and the court challenges continue daily. Even once a gay or lesbian couple is married, the laws and benefits for same-sex marriage change quickly and vary state by state. It is difficult for these couples to navigate their new rights and responsibilities.
In his book, Whether to Wed: A Legal and Tax Guide for Gay and Lesbian Couples (now available), attorney Scott Squillace brings clarity to the impact of this ever-changing landscape with invaluable insights and practical suggestions for both married couples and those contemplating marriage. The book is written for those couples looking for straightforward guidance and the advisors who guide them. Advisors who work with gay and lesbian clients, but are they themselves not members of the community, will find the book particularly helpful. The impact on estate and financial planning cannot be overstated.
"While there have been many cases that have been successful in the fight for equal marriage, the practical, legal and tax consequences are still confusing and planning for our community is still tricky," says Scott Squillace. "Depending on whether the couple lives in, moves to, or dies in a 'non-recognition' state, the rules can be different in each state. There is still a 'patchwork' of laws in effect around the country." Squillace's book and newly designed website (www.whether-to-wed.com) is a guide to navigate these issues and keep up-to-date on the changes in the law. The new rights and responsibilities are only available to those gay and lesbian couples that marry and the book lays out how marriage will impact them, their finances, and their family. The laws will continue to change and every state that currently does not allow equal marriage (save one) has a pending lawsuit. The various cases will eventually work themselves to the United States Supreme Court. Perhaps as soon as next year, the Court will address the patch-work system that is currently in place. The book is designed to help couples and advisors navigate the path forward, as it stands today, and what it may be in the future.
In Whether to Wed, Squillace offers an objective discussion of the factors same-sex couples need to consider from a legal, tax and financial planning perspective. "It helps same-sex couples who are already together and don't need to get married for their own relationship since they already may own a home and have made specific commitments to each another," says Squillace. "Now that the federal government recognizes same-sex marriage in all states for almost all federal purposes, the question becomes whether they should or shouldn't marry for legal or tax reasons even if their home state still doesn't recognize it." To this end, Squillace offers various planning resources on his website (www.whether-to-wed.com) to help people make the decision.
While love is still among the most important factors in considering marriage, for gay and lesbian couples who have been together for decades, the tax and legal aspects become increasingly important in evaluating whether or not to get married. "The book also helps couples figure out how to identify and work with LGBT savvy advisors who can help navigate these tricky waters," says Squillace. "Typically, it leads to people doing or updating their estate plans, retirement plans, and tax and financial planning."
Scott Squillace is a life and estate planning attorney at Squillace & Associates, P.C. with over 27 years of experience practicing law and is nationally known for his work in the area of same-sex couple legal and tax issues as well as unique issues facing the LGBT community. He is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New York and Washington D.C. and has been admitted to the Bar in Paris, France as an Avocat. Scott is focused on Life & Estate Planning matters for individuals and families. He specializes in planning for international clientele, corporate executives and small business owners. Scott was recently appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve on a newly formed Commission to study needs of the LGBT elder community. Scott also serves as Co-Chair of the Equality Fund, an endowment for the LGBT Community established at The Boston Foundation. He holds his Bachelor's degree from Fordham University in New York and has studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris, earning his J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.whether-to-wed.com.
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SOURCE Scott Squillace