Estate Tax for Same Sex Couples in New York

The Marriage Equality Act passed on June 24, 2011 has legal implications and benefits not only for health insurance benefits from employers but also for New York estate and income taxes. All married couples may take advantage of New York’s tax benefits for individuals who file as married couples.

In New York, estate tax may be due on estates valuing over one million dollars.  However, if the assets pass to a surviving spouse the estate tax marital deduction applies to shelter such assets from the F tax.

Federal Estate Tax Benefits Not Available to Same Sex Married Couples

This benefit is only available on a state level. Federal law (in particular the Defense of Marriage Act) prohibits recognition of same sex marriages so a same sex married couple will be treated as unmarried individuals for federal estate tax purposes.  Currently the threshold for paying federal estate taxes is five million dollars. That means estates valuing less than five million dollars would likely not owe any federal estate taxes.

Most estates fall under this exemption so the impact for New Yorkers is the more practical benefit of taking advantage of state estate tax exemptions which are now allowed equally for same sex married couples as for married couples between one man and one woman.

Get Legal Help

Understanding your rights and those of your spouse are important factors in creating your estate planning documents. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a strategic plan to protect your assets and all your loved ones.  Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you get started on making smart choices to preserve and grow your estate.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111 to learn more.

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