Livens & Reed, PLLC

Same-sex estate planning in Texas

Whether a person is single or married, an estate plan is an important tool to ensure that wishes are carried out after death. Understandably, many Texas couples choose to have their spouses listed in their estate. Same-sex couples, however, may have complications when it comes to creating their estate plans.

Since laws are different, depending on their jurisdiction, same-sex couples may find it challenging when planning their finances. In these jurisdictions, there may be different labels for the couples, such as domestic partnerships or same-sex civil unions. It’s recommended that couple keeps accurate financial records and enter into prenuptial agreements, just in case divorce should happen in the future.

So far, 19 states legally accept same-sex marriages, which allow a number of couples to have legal rights. However, 11 states have banned same-sex marriage, which leaves partners with no legal rights. Even if the couple has a marriage certificate from one state, that does not mean that the marriage will be legal in another state. Regardless of whether the couples are married or not, federal estate taxes are exempt to the first $5.3 million and are expected to increase each year.

Creating an estate plan is likely as important for same-sex couples as with any other couple. In spite of the complications that may occur, same-sex couples can still generate estate plans that include charitable donations for the spouse. Texas residents, who have not planned their finances or need to update their wills and trusts, may want to research their legal options as well as keep abreast of state laws and regulations.

Source:, "Estate Planning For Same-Sex Couples A Complex Maze, Experts Say", Karen Demasters, June 10, 2014

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