Far from some theoretical ruling that “paves the way” for better opportunities for same sex couples and financial planning advice, the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act had Hart Patterson Financial Services immediately calling clients. The firm services 230 families, of which about 35% are same-sex households.
“We’ve been waiting years for this,” said Vikki Lenhart (right), a financial planner with the Amherst, Mass.-based practice. “All of the issues we’ve been talking about with our heterosexual couples we can now discuss with our same-sex clients.”
Even though the firm is going “case by case” with each client and couple’s situation, they’re zeroing in on military benefits, Social Security and tax returns.
“We called the Social Security administration and they told us to begin sending in applications for spousal benefits,” Lenhart noted.
She pointed to one couple that had to defer taking their individual benefits until age 70.
“One partner is 67 and the other is 69. We told them another strategy is now on the table—spousal benefits, which they can collect for $14,000 per year.”
Although Penny Manners, Hart Patterson’s tax specialist, is still examining the ruling as it applies to the IRS and joint filers, she’s already refiled in one couple’s case, netting them an extra $3,300.