Lift of Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Provides New Estate Planning Opportunities

On May 20, 2014, in the case of Whitewood v. Wolf, Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. Like many of the rulings recently issued in other federal courts, the court found the ban in violation of the constitutional protections of due process and equal protection. The next day, Governor Tom Corbett announced that his administration would not appeal the ruling.

The decision comes nearly a year after the Supreme Court of the United States proclaimed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional in the landmark decision United States v. Windsor. Shortly after the Windsor decision, the Internal Revenue Service announced it would follow the ruling and recognize, for tax purposes, all legal same-sex marriages regardless of the current residence of the couple. Until Judge Jones’ ruling, however, same-sex marriages were not allowed in Pennsylvania and same-sex marriages occurring out of state were not recognized in Pennsylvania for state law purposes.

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Topics:  Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage

Published In: Civil Rights Updates, Constitutional Law Updates, Family Law Updates, Tax Updates, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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