Headaches for Same-Sex Couples | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Headaches for Same-Sex Couples

Headaches for Same-Sex Couples

Same-sex couples in New York are now allowed to get married.

"Same-sex couples who get married in New York will find they have some, but not all, of the benefits and burdens of being married," says John Olivieri, a partner in White & Case's private-client group in New York.

Though marriage will provide them financial advantages, they remain strangers in the eyes of the federal government.

But one can take advantage of the government's lack of recognition of same-sex marriage. Such couples can set up a "grantor-retained income trust," a type of trust that allows one to put an asset into a trust and retain the right to income from it. You have to pay gift tax on that asset, but the Internal Revenue Service would subtract a standard rate of return from the asset's value, and you would owe tax on that discounted amount—whether the asset produces income or not, says Mr. Olivieri, in New York.

"I have recommended to a number of same-sex couples that they do this," he says.