When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Windsor v. United States, their decision affected a lot more than just estate and tax laws. It also affected marriage laws across the nation, forcing legislatures to reconsider the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans and whether they were truly affording same-sex couples the rights they deserved. In May 2014, Pennsylvania legalized same-sex marriage, opening the doors to the same benefits opposite-sex couples have been privy to for decades.
But this change in the law has also created some legal hiccups that have led to some rather difficult legal questions. One such question is the one we pose in this post's title: will my same-sex partner pay inheritance tax when I die?
Before same-sex unions were considered legal in Pennsylvania, the answer to this question was yes. That's because the state did not consider same-sex partners as surviving spouses to a deceased person. They were actually considered to be related the farthest from the deceased person, therefore incurring the highest inheritance tax our state could impose.
With the legalization of gay marriage in Pennsylvania and the recognition of marriages from other states -- thanks to Whitewood v. Wolf -- same-sex partners no longer have to pay inheritance tax if an estate is bequeathed to them by their deceased spouse.
It's important to point out though that if assets are left to the children of a same-sex couple, an inheritance tax may be assessed. Although the percentage is quite low, it is something that can affect the size of an estate, which is something we hope all of our readers will consider as this does affect heterosexual couples as much as it does homosexual couples.