Same-sex couples receive different treatment under the law.
This can apply, depending on the state of residence and whether the legal status of their relationship is a civil union/domestic partnership or a marriage. Married couples who live in states that have marriage equality receive the same state and federal benefits that different-sex married couples receive. Couples who are in civil unions or domestic partnerships receive the state benefits that the civil union and domestic partnership laws in their states allow them, but they do not receive federal benefits because they are not lawfully married. Couples that married in states that allow same-sex marriage, but live in states that have civil union or domestic partnership laws receive the state benefits that their state’s civil union or domestic partnership laws allow. Federal benefits for these couples depends on whether the federal agency giving the benefit determines eligibility based on where the couple lives or where the couple married. For instance, the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services and the IRS recognize marriages on the basis of where they were entered; whereas, the Social Security Administration recognizes marriages only if they are valid in the state in which the couple lives. Finally, same-sex couples who live in states that do not have marriage or civil unions will not receive any state benefits, and their eligibility for federal benefits is decided in the same way as couples who are married but live in civil union or domestic partnership states.
Legal Implications on estate planning for same-sex couples
For instance, even though Illinois recognizes same-sex marriage, married same-sex couples should still travel with Powers of Attorney for Healthcare so that their spouse can still make medical decisions when they are in other states. Also, same-sex parents who are not the birth parents should obtain adoptions in order for their children to be recognized as their children in other states. Tax implications for married same-sex couples in Illinois include the ability to file tax returns jointly. Finally, same-sex couples who had previous estate planning done may want to modify their estate planning documents to allow for the unlimited marital deduction for federal estate tax purposes. Overall, proper estate planning can help same-sex couples receive proper treatment under some of the laws of other states.