The first consideration in Estate Planning for couples is marriage. In
the following article, we’ll define what a “couple”
is, as well as the two marriage options.
What constitutes a couple? In the United States, the word “couple”
is used for both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. When Estate
Planning for couples, same-sex relationships are treated in the exact
same manner as a male-female partnership. Couples are also recognized
whether or not they are married.
For those that choose marriage, two options exist for couples: religious
In the United States, a religious marriage typically takes place in a religious
facility and is presided over by a religious leader -- like a priest or a rabbi.
The religious ceremony is a long-standing tradition in our culture, but
it’s not a requirement. The less-glamorized civil procedure is of
equal, if not more, importance. The civil marriage occurs when the couple
obtains a marriage license and signs a marriage certificate.
That’s what the government cares about and what gives spouses marital rights.
Most marriages in the United States fall under both the civil and religious
categories. A couple may choose to marry in a religious service, but will
also compete the legal paperwork to be recognized as a married couple
under civil law.
Rarely do people solely choose a religious marriage without the civil component,
but it does happen. This makes things a little more complicated when it
comes to Estate Planning. Such couples do not have the rights of a spouse
with regard to estate tax exemptions, inheritance, etc. Because they are
not legally recognized as spouses, couples that are in a religious marriage
require different Estate Planning documents.
Regardless of the nature of your relationship, it's important to think
about Estate Planning. The Presser Law Firm can assist you with all your
Estate Planning needs. Contact our attorneys today for a complimentary