Illinois passed a law last year that allowed for same-sex marriages within the state. While it had previously allowed for civil unions for these couples, the new law confers many more opportunities and benefits for couples who choose to marry. Some changes have already gone into effect and the remaining changes will go into effect on June 1, 2014. It is important that people understand what this means for their families.
One of the key parts of the bill applies to those individuals in civil unions with their partners. Under the new law, these couples must apply to have their civil union converted into a same-sex marriage. If the couple applies for the conversion between June 1, 2014, and May 31, 2015, the couple’s marriage will be recognized from the date the civil union took place.
If they wait until after that day, the marriage is only recognized from the date the conversion is processed. These couples can decide to simply remain in the civil union, but, this could have a very serious impact when it comes to certain benefits that the couple may be able to share with one another. A civil union only confers state rights and responsibilities upon these couples. A marriage confers state and federal rights and responsibilities upon these couples.
Same-sex couples that have their relationships recognized as marriages will have many more advantages when it comes to estate planning. Under estate tax laws, the spouses may transfer property tax-free to one another. This is a significant benefit, as it allows the individuals more options when deciding how they wish to preserve their assets when they are creating their estate plan.
If you have questions about the impact that this new law will have on your family, you should speak to an attorney experienced in the nuances in estate planning for same-sex couples. This will allow you to be able to understand how the changes will affect you personally, and allow you to receive answers that will help you make the necessary decisions.
You need to be sure that you address these issues as soon as possible. You do not want to leave your loved ones struggling to guess your final wishes, or fighting over your assets after you pass away. An attorney will help you create a plan that allows your family to be able to focus on much more important matters at such a difficult time.