Same-Sex Couples


Although it is unfortunate, same-sex couples do not have the same legal rights and benefits that opposite-sex married couples enjoy.  For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals, the law only provides a patchwork of federal and state rules that govern same-sex relationships.

The Federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) does not recognize same-sex marriages for federal law purposes.  Although six states currently recognize same-sex marriages, DOMA also provides that a state does not have to recognize a same-sex marriage even if the marriage was legally entered into in another state.  This means, for example, that Missouri will not recognize a same-sex couple who was legally married in Iowa.

We assist same-sex couples and LGBT individuals in legal planning for a host of areas such as:

  • Traditional Estate Planning
  • Health Care and Disability Planning
  • Relationship Planning
  • Family Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Providing Immediate Access to Important Documents Through a Web-Based Document Storage System

These planning areas are designed to help same-sex couples and LGBT individuals obtain peace of mind and normalcy in life where the law has completely failed them. 

For example, without proper planning, state will determine how property is distributed at death.  For a same-sex couple dying without an estate plan, this could lead to unintended and often tragic results.  In most states (including Missouri), a same-sex partner will not be a beneficiary if there is no estate plan.  This means property may end up being distributed to “traditional” or blood family members to the complete exclusion of a same-sex surviving partner who will be economically, financially, emotionally and personally erased from their partner’s life in the event of a partner’s death.

Further, if minor children are involved, a court will decide who will take over the upbringing of those children.  A non-biological “parent” of his or her deceased partner will in all likelihood be excluded.

In addition, if a same-sex partner becomes disabled, his or her partner may not be able to make important health care decisions and may, even after President Obama’s recent Executive Order, be denied hospital visitation rights. 

We are proudly committed to serving the LGBT community.  We can assist same-sex couples and LGBT individuals in planning so that their goals and objectives can be achieved and taxes can be minimized.

For more information on planning for same-sex couples and LGBT individuals, please contact us for a free initial consultation or ask for our brochure, “Understanding the Basics of Planning for Same-Sex Couples.”


The Law Office of Richard C. Petrofsky assists clients with Estate and Gift Planning, Wills, Trusts, Charitable Planning, Special Needs Planning, Elder Law and Medicaid Planning, Estate and Family Planning for Same-Sex Couples and LGBT Individuals, Asset Protection Planning, Corporate and Business Planning and Tax Law and Planning in St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas.