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Michigan same-sex couples see estate planning benefits

Michigan's same-sex couples have gone through a roller coaster ride of legal changes in recent weeks, though the most recent development is certainly a positive one. An announcement in late March solidifies same-sex couples' rights under federal law. Even though the state of Michigan does not recognize same-sex marriage, those in such committed relationships will now be eligible for estate planning perks such as estate tax benefits.

The same-sex marriage debate has raged through the state, as hundreds of couples married on March 22. A stay was instituted after those proceedings took place, essentially nullifying the state rights of those same-sex couples. Those couples will not be required to wait for courtroom resolution of their marital rights, but instead will be granted full federal benefits for the foreseeable future. Those provisions were confirmed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder just days after the stay was instituted. That announcement resembles the speech Holder made after Utah's courts went through a similar process.

Marriage as a legal institution carries critical rights for those who are drafting estate planning documents. Same-sex couples who are looking to preserve assets or even draft a living will may struggle through lengthy legal requirements if their marriages are not recognized. Estate tax and estate planning benefits will make a significant difference in the estate planning process for same-sex couples in Michigan and other states.

Same-sex couples who are interested in learning more about their rights to health proxy, living wills and other estate planning provisions may benefit from consulting a Michigan probate attorney. These professionals may help same-sex couples navigate the changing legal requirements, including the newly granted federal rights. Same-sex couples should not have to suffer through estate-planning woes; a Michigan attorney may be able to answer their questions.

Source: The Detroit Free Press, "Michigan same-sex marriages will get federal rights" Todd Spangler, Mar. 28, 2014

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