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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA

Back in 2011, when New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, we discussed the issues particularly as they related to the Federal law, Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).   For Federal purposes, DOMA defined marriage as between a man and a woman and allowed states which do not allow same sex marriage to not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.  On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court decided that much of DOMA is unconstitutional, since same sex married couples were not being treated equally under the law. Specifically, Section 3 of DOMA, which allowed the Federal government to deny benefits to same sex couples, was invalidated.  However, Section 2, which allows states to decide who may marry and which marriages to recognize, is still law.
This means that same sex couples married in New York and living in New York can expect the same rights as heterosexual married couples.  However, some issues remain murky, particularly for those same sex couples married in one state and now living in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage.  Benefit eligibility is often governed by the state in which a couple lives as opposed to the state in which the couple was married.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nearing Retirement

If you are hoping to retire in two to five years, what should you be doing now to make it happen?  As in all things financial, you must have a plan.  In retirement, especially in the later years, there is little you can do to increase income.  Additionally, there are significant expenses over which you’ll have little control (medical costs).  An assessment now will help toward understanding if you will be financially prepared for retirement.