On May 20, 2014, declared that Pennsylvania’s laws banning same sex marriage was unconstitutional. Besides the practical implication that same sex couples in Pennsylvania may now get married, it also means that when one spouse dies, the survivor can now inherit tax free.
Previously, only a heterosexual surviving spouse could inherit assets of the deceased spouse tax free. Additionally, for same sex couples, if one partner left money to another, that would be taxed at a 15% rate – the same as if the person were a total stranger.
If you are in a same sex marriage (that was licensed in another state) you may wish to consider revising your estate planning documents as a result of this ruling. Additionally, if you have recently lost a same sex spouse, you may wish to consider amending the Pennsylvania inheritance tax return to request a refund.