Estate Planning for
Non-Traditional Families

Ms. Tiftickjian’s childhood neighborhood in San Francisco was the home to many non-traditional families. Because she grew up in such a diverse city, she enjoys helping unmarried and same-sex couples provide in a private and thoughtful way for the orderly succession of ownership of their property and for the care and support of their children.

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 4921 (U.S. June 26, 2013), found that § 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which defines “marriage” and “spouse” as excluding same-sex partners, is unconstitutional. The Court reasoned that:

The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects. . . and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives. Id. At *43. Following Windsor, partners married in jurisdictions recognizing same sex marriage (currently 13 other states and 15 foreign countries) are eligible for a broad range of federal benefits which touch on married and family life, including the ability to claim the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses, and Social Security survivor benefits.

Unfortunately, the Colorado Constitution still defines marriage as only a union of one man and one woman.