About Me

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Beaverton, Oregon, United States
I'm an attorney at Aaby Family Law in Beaverton, Oregon. (www.aabyfamilylaw.com) I practice probate and estate planning, including estate planning for same sex couples. kgapinski@aabyfamilylaw.com

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Articles for Oregon Attorneys on Same Sex Marriage and DOMA

Two articles about same sex couples and estate planning just came out in Oregon State Bar section newsletters:


First, Beth Wolfsong published a great article in the Oregon State Bar Elder Law Section newsletter entitled, Blazing a Trail to Murky Waters: Considerations for Same Sex Spouses in the Wake of United States v. Windsor.  You can read the article HERE.  

Second, I published an article in the Oregon State Bar Estate Planning Section newsletter, entitled, Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples: An Overview.  You can read the article HERE


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Man who challenged same sex marriage ban in Ohio has died

John Arthur and Jim Obergefell.  (Photo from Salon.com)

I previously wrote about John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, the Ohio gay couple who married in Maryland in July 2013 and who then sued the state of Ohio for recognition of their marriage.  John Arthur was terminally ill with Lou Gehrig's disease at the time of his marriage to Jim Obergefell.  Unfortunately, John Arthur passed away on October 22, 2013.  Because the couple filed a lawsuit in federal court and because Judge Timothy Black issued an injunction against the State of Ohio, it is my understanding that Jim Obergefell will be listed as John Arthur's spouse on John's death certificate. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Department of Labor Releases Guidance on ERISA

On September 18, 2013, the Department of Labor gave post-DOMA guidance to "employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, and plan participants and beneficiaries", via Technical Release 2013-2014.  

According to the release:

"The term "spouse" will be read to refer to any individuals who are lawfully married under any state law, including individuals married to a person of the same sex who were legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages, but who are domiciled in a state that does not recognize such marriages. Similarly, the term "marriage" will be read to include a same-sex marriage that is legally recognized as a marriage under any state law. This is the most natural reading of those terms; it is consistent with Windsor, in which the plaintiff was seeking tax benefits under a statute that used the term "spouse"; and a narrower interpretation would not further the purposes of the relevant statutes and regulations. A rule that recognizes marriages that are valid in the state in which they were celebrated, regardless of the married couple's state of domicile, provides a uniform rule of recognition that can be applied with certainty by stakeholders, including employers, plan administrators, participants, and beneficiaries."

This is good news for same sex couples, as the Department of Labor will recognize a same-sex couple's marriage, based on the place they were married ("place of celebration"), regardless of whether where they currently live recognizes same-sex marriage.  

 This means same-sex spouses will have equal treatment for employee benefit plans governed by ERISA.

You can read the full technical release HERE

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Veteran's Same Sex Spouse Buried in National Cemetary

Air force veteran Linda Campbell made history today when she buried her deceased spouse at Willamette National Cemetery.  Linda was married to Nancy Lynchild, who passed away in December 2012.    Before the repeal of DOMA in June 2013, Linda sought to have her spouse buried in Willamette National Cemetery.  (Veterans are entitled to be buried in national cemeteries, as are their spouses and dependents.)  Nancy Lynchild is the first same sex spouse of a veteran to be buried in a national cemetery.  

You can read more about Linda's fight to have Nancy buried at Willamette National Cemetery in the Oregonian article by clicking on the photo below:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Same Sex Couple Sues State of Ohio in Federal Court for Recognition of Marriage

Jim Obergefell (left) and John Arthur during their wedding ceremony

Jim Obergefell and John Arthur have been together for over twenty years.  The couple live in Ohio, a state which does not recognize same sex marriage.  After The Supreme Court struck down DOMA, Jim and John Arthur decided to travel to Maryland, a state recognizing same sex marriage, to get married.

Because John has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or "Lou Gehrig's disease") and is terminally ill, he was unable to travel without medical support.  The couple chartered a medical jet and got married on the tarmac of the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).

You can read more about Jim and John's story and watch their wedding:


After their marriage, the couple traveled back to Ohio and filed suit in federal court in Cincinnati - The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  Federal Judge Timothy Black extended a temporary restraining order against the State of Ohio, preventing the state from enforcing its ban on gay marriage.  Ohio was ordered to list John Arthur as married on his death certificate when he dies, rather than single, so they may be buried next to each other in a family plot at a cemetery allowing only descendants and spouses.

Oral arguments are scheduled for the case on December 18, 2013. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

IRS to recognize same sex marriage, regardless of where the same sex couple resides

In good news for same sex couples, the IRS announced today that for federal tax purposes, it will recognize a couple's marriage if it was entered into in a jurisdiction allowing same sex marriage, regardless of where the couple currently resides.

The states that currently allow same sex marriage are:
Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia

This means it does not matter to the IRS if you live in a non-recognition state, as long as you were married in a recognition state.

For example,  an Oregon same sex couple can get married in Washington and still file joint federal taxes, even though they live in Oregon, which does not recognize same sex marriages. 
For more information on the Treasury and IRS announcement, check out their FAQ

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

15 Tycoons Who Won't Leave Their Fortunes to Their Kids

Warren Buffet has pledged to give 99% of his wealth to philanthropy

There was an interesting article on Yahoo Finance the other day about wealthy individuals who are not planning to leave their money to their children.  Among the individuals are Warren Buffet, Ted Turner, Bill Gates, and Jackie Chan.  

Most of the individuals have chosen to give their wealth to charity.  A sentiment that echos throughout the article is that leaving a large sum of money to one's kids does them more harm than good.  This has helpful estate tax consequences for these wealthy folks, as money donated to charity is tax deductible!

Read the article here