With two children together and a relationship spanning nearly two decades, Leonard & Karl were ready to make it official. But several years ago, such a thing was illegal in their home state. Luckily on August 1, 2013 Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage. While things were about to change for the better, it wouldn’t be easy…
Before the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage, the country was a patchwork of states who recognized same-sex couples and states who criminalized them. Some states, like Leonard and Karl’s home state, took it a step further by making it a felony to file a joint tax return as a same-sex couple. To complicate matters more, many company retirement and employee benefits plans only extended employee benefits to straight, married couples. While Leonard and Carl were determined to make their union official under the new law in Minnesota, they wanted to be sure it didn’t cause further issues in their financial lives.
So, Leonard and Carl decided to call their financial advisor and ask for help. After all, he traveled to their home state to serve as a character witness at the adoption hearings for their children. After listening to their story, getting clear on their particular concerns, and documenting solutions to help them move forward, their financial advisor asked them a key question. “Do you have an officiant for the ceremony? If not, I would be happy to get ordained in order to perform the ceremony.” He also offered to connect them to the Minnesota caterers, florists, and wine merchants he had hired for he and his wife’s own wedding a few years before. Leonard and Carl were delighted. They accepted the offers, and we’re happy to take a deep breath knowing they had solutions to their key financial concerns, as well as a good start on a plan for their ceremony.
In the weeks that followed, their financial advisor and his team analyzed each of their employee benefits, retirement plans, insurance coverage, debts, wills, estate plans, and trusts to look for issues that could undermine their financial security; especially as it related to living as a same-sex couple. After addressing each of the issues, and coming up with a solution, he proudly stood before mutual friends and family to bind them in official matrimony.