Key Legal Challenges With Same-Sex Couples: Tax, Estate And Financial Planning, Employee Benefits

Webinar: ID# 1015483
Recorded CD or On-Demand
About This Course:
Federal law provides more than 1,100 benefits, rights and protections on the basis of marital status.

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, same-sex couples became immediately entitled to recognition for federal employment benefits and income and estate taxation. In 36 states and D.C., same-sex “marriage” is either explicitly or arguably legalized (based on federal court rulings). Will the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges clear or further muddy the waters for same-sex couples?

However, whatever the Court rules in Obergefell, same-sex couples face a host of unique legal, tax and non-tax challenges. While the Windsor decision explicitly addresses federal income and estate tax consequences, it also impacts many other important legal issues. Counsel must be aware of the impact on benefit plans, medical plan coverage, tax benefits for adoption-related expenses, social security benefits, Medicaid, year of support, and ethical issues considerations.

Listen as our authoritative panel analyzes various income tax issues that affect the way same-sex partners file as a married couple. The panel will address tax consequences that may be overlooked or relinquished and the opportunity to file differently.

  • Recognition of marriage by the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26 USC)
  • Income tax issues affecting same-sex couples
    • Filing status of the couple
    • The marriage penalty
    • Legal implications of a joint income tax return
    • Mitigation of joint and several liabilities
  • Transfer tax issue
    • Marital deduction
    • The applicable credit and portability between spouses
  • Other tax issues
    • Employee benefit plans
    • Deductions for medical expenses
    • Tax benefits for adoption related expenses
    • Disclosures required for foreign property
  • Related non-tax financial issues
    • Marriage equality: Social Security benefits
    • Medicaid
  • Estate planning for non-taxable estates
    • The unplanned estate
    • Basic estate planning
    • Impact of marriage recognition on the basic estate plan
    • Year of support
    • Ethical issues for the attorney

The panel will review these and other key issues:
  • What are the most important federal and state income tax issues affecting same-sex couples?
  • What best practices should counsel consider in drafting agreements for same-sex couples that could impact estate planning?
  • What important non-tax financial issues should counsel be aware of when advising same-sex couples?

Deb L. Kinney, Partner
Johnston Kinney & Zulaica, San Francisco
Ms. Kinney's practice focuses on estate planning, trust administration and probate matters. She specially serves the needs of and complexity faced by unmarried partners and same-sex couples in regard to estate planning, asset sharing and wealth transfer, and document drafting for medical issues and final arrangements. She has also been extensively involved with the IRS on behalf of the LGBT community regarding income and estate tax issues.

Dana Shaffner, Principal
Shaffner Law Office, Atlanta
Ms. Shaffner focuses on small businesses and tax legal issues, including personal income, corporate income and estate and gift taxation. She has over 30 years experience working with taxation. She began her professional life with the predecessor of Price Waterhouse Coopers and worked in public accounting as a tax manager. Following her admission to the bar, she opened a boutique law practice focusing on small business and taxes.

Martin S. Varon, Principal
Investigative Accounting Group, Marietta, Ga.
Mr. Varon has over 36 years of professional accounting and consulting experience. He specializes in tax and valuation services, family law litigation support, and business litigation support. Previously, he worked for two different Big Eight accounting firms in their audit and tax departments, served as the tax officer at a subsidiary of a public company, and was the chief financial officer or controller at various closely-held businesses.

Continuing Education Credits Available

This program has been approved for 2.0 CPE hours through Strafford Publications. CPE Credit is available only for the LIVE webcast. Recorded versions do not qualify for credit.

Strafford is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.


To obtain CPE credit, attendees must participate in the live event, return an Official Record of Attendance to Strafford affirming their participation (including the CPE code announced during the program), and pay a processing fee of $35 per person.

Credit Confirmation

Strafford will mail a certificate of credit within approximately 2 weeks of receiving an attendee's completed Official Record of Attendance—provided all required conditions have been satisfied.


Handout materials and the phone number for live presentations are made available to you 1 day prior to the event via email from the presenter. Copies of the presentations are included with recorded versions.

If you order a recorded version of the webinar, CD's will be mailed out approximately 10 days after the live event. Shipping is included in the price of recorded versions.
Key Legal Challenges With Same-Sex Couples: Tax, Estate And Financial Planning, Employee Benefits
Available on CD or On-Demand formats
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