DOMA and Planning Opportunities


With the Supreme Court’s ruling of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, there are now planning strategies available to same-sex couples that didn’t previously exist.  Even for those residing in Oregon, where same-sex marriage is not legal (a “non-recognition” state), there are opportunities for planning for those inclined toward marriage.

Same-sex married couples can now rollover a deceased spouse’s IRAs and retirement plans via spousal rollover, instead of needing to use a non-spousal rollover to an Inherited IRA.  We encourage you to review your beneficiary designations with this in mind.

There are also potentially significant implications surrounding Social Security benefits.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) is now processing some spousal retirement and survivor claims for same-sex couples.  While not much information is currently available on their website, SSA is working with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions.  For more information on how your Social Security planning may be affected, please contact the Social Security Administration.

If you are contemplating marriage, we encourage you to talk with your attorney about the topic in light of new rights being available.  We’re sure your attorney will review this with you, but if you want to get married, it is our understanding that you would need to travel to a state where marriage equality exists (a “recognition state”) to tie the knot.  Of course, you should consider such unpleasant but often necessary legal documents like prenuptial agreements and other property agreements.

While getting legally married may not necessarily help Oregon residents with regard to state laws and state tax issues, it may offer the above mentioned benefits, as well as benefits for federal estate and income tax purposes.

Barry Nelson


A little more about Capital Financial Planners...

Established in 1984, Capital Financial Planners, LLC is an independent, fee-based investment management and financial planning firm located in Salem, Oregon. We provide wealth management and advisory services to clients in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Our services include retirement planning, investment management, advisory services for trustees, hourly financial planning and more. We take a holistic and collaborative approach, working not only as our clients’ financial advisors, but as their financial partners.

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