Implications of Supreme Court’s U.S. v. Windsor Decision on Estate Planning and Retirement and Welfare Plans

On June 26, 2013, in a 5-4 decision in the case of United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act
("DOMA"), a 1996 law that effectively barred same-sex married couples from receiving federal marriage benefits.  The case was commenced by Edith Windsor, the surviving spouse of a New York decedent, who paid $363,053 in federal estate tax when her spouse died. 

This Stroock Special Bulletin highlights some of the important ramifications of U.S. v. Windsor on estate planning for married same-sex couples, and raises the possibility of current claims for refunds of estate and gift tax paid because of DOMA.  This Stroock Special Bulletin also examines the impact of U.S. v. Windsor on retirement plans and welfare plans under federal law.