Who can get married and who can’t is an issue that estate and tax lawyers in Savannah are following closely. Beyond social and religious meaning, marriage brings with it certain rights and benefits. A person’s marital status affects so many legal aspects of life, all the way through who will inherit property after death.
Tax Benefits for Married People
One of the first benefits that most people recognize is the ability for a married couple to file joint income tax returns. There are also federal tax laws that protect family businesses, and legal marriage is what permits non-blood relatives to be a part of a “family partnership.” Of course, a reputable marriage lawyer wouldn’t probably encourage a couple to tie the knot just for the benefits, as we see what happens when relationships don’t last, too.
Marital Status Affects Estate Planning
When it comes to estate planning, marital status also makes a difference. A spouse is entitled to inherit property and can receive tax exemptions on assets left behind in this way. There are also certain kinds of trusts that are only available to married couples. An aspect of estate planning that many people don’t think about is what happens if one spouse is alive but somehow incapacitated. A legal marriage means that the other spouse will be given priority if a conservator is needed to take care of the incapacitated person’s medical or financial decisions on their behalf.
Government and Employee Benefits
There are a variety of benefits, whether through the government or through employers, that are only available to legal spouses. For example, disability benefits and Social Security can be paid to a spouse but would not continue to a non-legal partner should the original beneficiary pass away. This also holds true for military and veteran’s benefits. Likewise, certain employee benefits are only available to spouses, and even the ability to take family leave to care for your partner can be dependent upon whether or not you are married.
Other Benefits that Come With Marriage
The above listed benefits are just some of those that marriage lawyers in Savannah see when it comes to marital status, but there are a lot of others that might be less obvious:
- Consumer Benefits – family rates for insurance, tuition discounts for multiple family members at a school
- Housing Benefits – neighborhoods that are zoned for “families only”
- Family Benefits – fostering, adopting, or becoming a legal step parent, division of property in case of divorce, spousal and child support/custody and visitation
- Legal Benefits – recourse if a spouse is killed or injured, marital communications privilege, victims’ recovery benefits
- Immigration – obtaining benefits for spouses who are not citizen
These are just a few of the benefits that marriage lawyers in Savannah see for their clients who have chosen to make a long-term commitment to their partners. If you have questions on how marital status affects you and your legal/financial decisions here in Georgia, feel free to contact our office at (912) 352-3999 for assistance.