At Last! Legal Gay Marriage States are Nationwide

Out Estate Planning, Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling, James Lange“Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we have made our union a little more perfect.” – President Obama from the White House, June 26, 2015.

In a historic 5-4 vote today, The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling making gay marriage states legal nationwide. The day does not appear to be happenstance, either. On June 26, 2003 SCOTUS struck down the sodomy laws, in June 26, 2013 SCOTUS struck down DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), and today Justice Kennedy joined by Justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan delivered a beautifully human, and well thought out opinion for the majority ending states abilities to ban gay marriage.

Here is an excerpt from that groundbreaking opinion:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their pleas is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The constitution grants them that right.”

It is so ordered.

While this is a huge coup for human and civil rights, many people do not realize the huge potential for LGBT couples to now gain the financial equality they have long been denied.

Our very own Jim Lange, has been talking about this potential financial equality for years, and advising his LGBT clients to take advantage of the opportunities that become available to them when marriage is a possibility.

His newest book on the subject, Live Gay, Retire Rich! is available for pre-order now at –

LGBT Couples Need New Financial Advice!

James Lange, CPA/Attorney, highlights potential financial benefits available to LGBT couples who marry

Pittsburgh – April 28, 2015 –The United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments today on the issue of marriage equality. This historic case should be decided by June.

The two likely possibilities of the decision are:

  1. Supreme Court says all states have to offer same-sex couples the right to marry.
  2. Supreme Court says all states have to recognize marriages performed outside their state.

In either case, all states will likely have to recognize same-sex marriage, even if the couple has to travel to get married in a state that does recognize same-sex couples and then return home.


Retire Secure! For Same-Sex Couples Cover 7x10-2According to James Lange, a best-selling author, Certified Public Accountant, attorney and president of Pittsburgh-based Lange Financial Group, there are potential benefits that many people know about including the “marriage bonus” when preparing tax returns and health benefits being extended to new spouses. But what many people do not consider are 2 enormous financial benefits of marriage for couples who are 60 and over:

1. Marriage can increase your Social Security benefits: There are options to increase your total household Social Security benefits when you are married. Spousal benefit rules impact a couple while both are alive, and the survivor benefit available is impactful after one spouse passes. Over time, the difference can be hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars. This could be even more important if one spouse has a strong earnings record and the other spouse does not.

The graph below shows the difference between a couple not getting married and taking their Social Security benefits at age 62, versus getting married and utilizing a technique called Apply & Suspend for their Social Security. The difference is going broke in your 90s versus having more than $2 million. Image1


2. For purpose of inheriting money, most states and the federal government impose less inheritance and income taxes on assets left to a spouse than on assets left to a non-spouse. After Windsor (a previous case), however, the IRS will recognize same-sex marriages for federal income and estate tax purposes as long as the couple was married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. This makes transfer of assets between a married LGBT couple much easier than between a non-married couple.

Lange warns, however, that there could be some drawbacks including the potential health care liability of getting married, and the so called “marriage penalty” that may affect some taxpayers. He encourages same-sex couples that are currently marriage or weighing the benefits of marriage to read his book, Retire Secure for Same-Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich, in which he details recommendations for the issues mentioned herein and so many more.

Lange’s book lays recommendations in a convincingly detailed yet surprisingly easy-to-follow fashion and is available to purchase through

About James Lange

James LangeJames Lange, CPA/Attorney started the first exclusive LGBT estate planning website in Pittsburgh, in 2002. Jim is a nationally-known Roth IRA and retirement plan distribution expert. He’s also the best-selling author of the first and second edition of Retire Secure! and Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples. With over 30 years of experience, Jim and his team have drafted over 1,995 wills and trusts with a focus on flexibility and meeting the unique needs of each client.

Jim’s recommendations have appeared 35 times in The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The New York Times, Newsweek, Money magazine, Smart Money and Reader’s Digest. His articles have appeared in Trusts and Estates magazine, The Journal of Retirement Planning, Financial Planning, The Tax Adviser (AICPA), and other top publications.

To learn more, or sign up for their newsletter, visit

Celebrate New Legal Rulings with a Free Same-Sex eBook!

LGBT Ally James Lange, an author and CPA/Attorney, Celebrates New Legal Rulings by Offering a Free E-Book for Same-Sex Couples Across the Nation.  

Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich is endorsed by the top IRA, Social Security, and legal experts in the country and available as a FREE download for a limited time at

PITTSBURGH, October 13, 2014 – Last week was a historic week of victories for same-sex couples across the nation as 8 more states, West Virginia, Alaska, Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Indiana won the right to marry. The courts struck down the bans to marry in these states, expanding the rights for same-sex couples to marry in over half of the country. Within hours, county clerks in those states were issuing marriage licenses to couples who had been waiting for a decision to come down. Additionally, 4 more states in the 10th circuit and 4th circuit are on the verge of marriage equality as well. Colorado, Kansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming have cases pending verdicts and are expected to overturn their marriage bans in the near future. To celebrate these rulings attorney and CPA, James Lange is offering Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich for free for a limited time on his web site,

Pittsburgh LGBT Ally James Lange of Lange Financial Group, LLC has been working to help same-sex couples understand and take advantage of the tax and Social Security laws since 2002, but his campaign was re-energized when the Windsor case was decided in 2013. The laws and regulations for estate planning, tax planning, and Social Security planning have changed so significantly for same-sex couples over the last year that Jim has dedicated a large portion of his firm’s time and funds toward writing a book on gay retirement planning. Retire Secure! for Same Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich can be downloaded for FREE by going to before October 31st.

Along with the ability to get married, Lange suggests that there are many other points couples in states with marriage rights or on the verge of those rights should consider. “Married same-sex couples who live in states that recognize same-marriages will now be able to enjoy significant Social Security marital benefits and estate planning benefits, particularly if one member of the couples has a significant IRA or retirement plan,” says Lange, author of the book, Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich. Mr. Lange offers four tips for same-sex couples:

  1. Go Into Marriage with Your Financial Eyes Wide Open. The couples who will benefit the most financially will likely be same-sex couples in their 60s or older where at least one person of the couple has a significant IRA or retirement plan. Some other couples will actually do worse financially. Finances are an important, though not exclusive, reason to get married or stay unmarried. If you are already married, speak to a tax advisor to take advantage of all the marital benefits.
  2. Consider How Marriage Affects Social Security Benefits. For many couples, one result of marriage is the opportunity to collect a much higher Social Security benefit. If you qualify and it is appropriate in your situation, apply for Social Security spousal benefits. There is a fantastic technique called “apply and suspend,” which is newly available to many same-sex couples in states that have recently changed their laws and to many residents of states that already afforded marriage rights. Most Social Security recipients, however, do not understand all of the possible spousal benefits of Social Security. There are significant advantages while both spouses are alive and after the first spouse dies.       Find out the enormous financial benefits for free by going to before October 31st.
  3. Marriage and IRA and Retirement Planning. Regardless of your state of residence, as long as you were married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, you and your spouse will enjoy significant tax benefits on inheriting an IRA or a retirement plan.
  4. Seek Professional Advice. As with all important financial decisions, Lange suggests that couples speak with a qualified retirement and estate advisor, preferably a CPA, as well as an attorney who works with same-sex couples. “Couples need to be sure they have all the knowledge they can to prepare for their financial lives as a married couple,” says Lange. For more information about how to get a FREE copy of Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich or for information on how to schedule a meeting or media interview with James Lange visit www.samesex-equalrights.comor call 412-521-2732.

About Jim Lange

James Lange, CPA/Attorney has been helping same-sex couples since 2002. He is a nationally recognized Roth IRA and retirement plan distribution expert and understands the best techniques for married couples to get the most out of Social Security. The combination of his financial expertise as well as an understanding of the changing legal status of same-sex marriage makes Jim the logical person to write and now offer for free Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples: Live Gay, Retire Rich which can be downloaded at before October 31st.

He’s also the best-selling author of the first and second edition of Retire Secure! with dozens of testimonials from the nation’s top IRA, investment, and estate planning experts and The Roth Revolution: Pay Taxes Once and Never Again.

Jim’s recommendations have appeared 32 times in The Wall Street Journal, 23 times in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The New York Times, Newsweek, Money magazine, Smart Money and Reader’s Digest. His articles have appeared in The Journal of Retirement Planning, Financial Planning, The Tax Adviser (AICPA), and other top publications. His article, Optimizing Social Security Benefits for Unmarried Couples, was just published in Trusts & Estates magazine this August.

Media Contact: Amanda Cassady-Schweinsberg, 412-521-2732

SOURCE: James Lange, CPA/Attorney


Supreme Court Decision Leads to Same-Sex Marriage Wins

Gay Marriage, James Lange, Retirement, Social Security, Same Sex MarriageOn October 6, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of five cases of same-sex marriage. This decision leaves standing marriage victories in three federal circuits, the 4th, 7th, and 10th and opens the door to the same-sex marriage in many more states.

On October 7th, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Nevada and Idaho.

There’s been a lot of progress and soon, same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry not only in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including today’s new additions of Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Virginia – but the path to marriage in 6 other states (Colorado, Kansas, North

Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming) is now paved. Despite the amazing momentum, the U.S. Supreme Court chose to defer for another day the national resolution that Freedom to Marry, businesses, elected officials, and families across the country have urged now.

To keep current with the recent events, please visit  All proceeds from my book goes to Freedom to Marry.

-James Lange

P.S. Once you get married you may be wondering what financial steps to take next. Give us a call today! We would be honored to help you through that process. 412-521-2732 (Western Pennsylvania Residents Only)

Same-Sex Couples Nearing Retirement: Get Married

If you're a same-sex couple in a long term committed relationship and are nearing retirement, get married.

Yalman Onaran of Bloomberg News discussed this issue with James Lange of the Lange Financial Group, LLC and had this to say:

“That's the simple advice that emerges from a new book by James Lange, a certified public accountant and attorney who specializes in retirement and estate planning. Of course love and feelings should dictate your decision first, but if you're looking at the financial side of things, then the balance has shifted in favor of marriage since the Supreme Court decision a year ago abolishing the Defense of Marriage Act, Lange argues.”

The chart below shows why marriage would benefit an aging same-sex couple.  A gay or lesbian couple could have higher Social Security benefits, more room to shelter income in IRAs all while avoiding inheritance taxes. 

Same-Sex, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT Couples Nearing Retirement - Get Married
















In this article Yalman Onaran touches on some of the caveats to same-sex marriage for financial reasons including whether you live in a state that still doesn’t recognize gay marriage as well as how far you and your partner are from retirement.  He shares his own experience with marriage and the financial benefits that resulted from getting married and how the landscape has changed post the repeal of DOMA.

To read the rest of this article in Bloomberg News, please click on the link below.

Click this link to read the article

Source: Yalman Onaran, Bloomberg News

An Update For Our Pennsylvania Readers

PA Same-Sex Marriage, James Lange, Retirement, DOMAOn May 20, 2014, the gay marriage ban in Pennsylvania was overturned by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III.  In addition, Pennsylvania will now recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states that recognize same-sex marriage.  Governor Tom Corbett has announced that he will not appeal the decision, and for the first time in the state’s history, same-sex couples are now permitted to marry.  This is wonderful news for the residents of our state who have been waiting for a long time to marry their same-sex partners, but it also means that some of the information in this book as it relates to Pennsylvania residents has become outdated (as, frankly, I hoped it would become).  Rather than rewrite the book, I thought it would be simpler to provide Pennsylvania residents with a summary of the areas in which their lives will be affected as a consequence of the Pennsylvania decision.

First, if you’re counting, there are now 32 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage – the original text references 33 states.  Chapter 1 states that there are 17 jurisdictions that allow same-sex couples to legally marry, but, as of May 20, 2014, that number has risen – Pennsylvania became the 18th state (plus the District of Columbia) to do so.

Next, there are several references in the book to the federal criteria of “The State of Celebration vs. the State of Domicile,” as well as recommendations that readers consider marrying in a state that does recognize same-sex marriage.  As of May 20, 2014, same-sex couples who reside in Pennsylvania no longer have to travel out of state to get married – unless, of course, they want to – in order to enjoy the same benefits as straight married couples.  Let’s examine some of those benefits in greater detail.

  • Chapters 1, 4 and 5 discuss some odd Pennsylvania conundrums that, I’m sure, legally married same-sex couples will be very happy to see go by the wayside.  In 2013, legally married (in another state) same-sex couples who lived in Pennsylvania were required to file their Federal tax returns as “Married,” but their State returns as “Single.”  Those taxpayers will finally be able to file both their 2014 Federal and Pennsylvania returns as “Married,” and they also have the option to file amended Federal returns for up to three years prior, if it makes financial sense for them to refile as “Married.” (Marital status does not affect the amount of state tax that Pennsylvania residents pay, so filing amended state returns will not be necessary.)  
  • Chapter 1 recommends that your wills and trusts be prepared based on current laws, but include special provisions in case same-sex marriage becomes legalized in Pennsylvania.  Now that the state recognizes same-sex marriage, such highly customized estate planning documents likely will not be necessary. 
  • The beneficiary of a deceased same-sex partner used to be subject to a 15% Pennsylvania inheritance tax whether they had been unmarried or legally married (in another state), and it was my recommendation that wealthier couples consider either making large financial gifts in order to avoid that tax, or purchase life insurance to pay the tax.  Going forward, those strategies will be irrelevant because those same couples will not pay Pennsylvania inheritance taxes on their spouse’s assets (the same as straight married couples).
  • Finally,  from the human perspective, the surviving spouse of a legally married same-sex couple now has, barring extenuating circumstances, sole authority in all matters pertaining to the disposition of their spouse’s remains in Pennsylvania – prior to this ruling, a same-sex spouse couldn’t even be named on a death certificate.
  • Chapter 2 discusses the benefits of marriage as it relates to IRA’s and retirement plans.  Indeed, the benefits are so significant that from the federal perspective, including both income taxes and estate taxes, I recommend that all committed same-sex couples consider the financial advantages of getting married.  (Please reread that chapter if you are on the fence about it.)  But now, there is no need to travel to another state to marry to receive the same favorable federal tax treatment that the survivor of a straight married couple would receive on their deceased spouse’s IRA or retirement plan.  Now if you marry in Pennsylvania, you will assure your surviving spouse of a much better standard of living in his or her retirement than if you had not married. 
  • Pennsylvania does not currently tax retirement income, so the change in the law will have no effect on your state income taxes.  There will be a significant change with respect to state inheritance taxes, though – an individual who inherited a retirement plan from a legally married same-sex spouse, used to have to pay the state’s highest inheritance tax rate of 15%.  In many cases, this amounted to a significant amount of money. Now, that same individual will pay nothing in state inheritance tax. 
  • Chapters 1 and 3 both show, if you are a Pennsylvania resident, the monthly benefit that you would have been eligible for from Social Security, was “in question.”  This was because, unlike the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration recognizes same-sex marriages in states that recognize same-sex marriages.  If you are legally married, but do not live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, you are not currently eligible for spousal Social Security benefits.  The Social Security Administration recognized the inconsistency in their position and encouraged same-sex couples in all states to apply, but asked you to be patient as they develop and begin to implement new policies on this subject.  Well, legally married same-sex couples who live in Pennsylvania don’t need to wait any longer – they can now receive Social Security benefits based on their own earnings record, or the earnings record of their spouse if it is higher.  Remember, though, that the decision about when and how to apply for Social Security benefits can have a far greater impact on your financial security than what the staff at your local Social Security office might lead you to believe. Decisions about timing Social Security benefits should not be done without first talking to a trusted advisor.
  • In the same context, please have a second look at the graph on page 80, which illustrates what happens if Dr. Dan had used the “Apply and Suspend” technique for his Social Security benefits, and subsequently died.  This graph takes in to consideration a 15% inheritance tax assessed on Dr. Dan’s retirement plan.    Since Pennsylvania now recognizes same-sex marriage, this tax will no longer be assessed at his death, which would make the difference between those two scenarios even more dramatic.

You should also have a look at the graph on Page 131, which illustrates the difference between taking my advice and ignoring it.  The steep decline in assets at Baker Bob’s age 80 was due to the 15% Pennsylvania inheritance tax he owed on Dr. Dan’s estate.  Now that Pennsylvania recognizes same-sex marriage and the inheritance tax no longer applies to the surviving spouse, the argument for marriage will be even stronger.

It has been a long time coming, but I am happy to see that Pennsylvania has finally made this change to their law.  Same-sex Pennsylvania couples who marry will finally be treated fairly, with the same dignity and respect as straight married couples.  Since this represents new territory for you, I encourage you to talk with a trusted advisor about the specifics of your own situation, so that you fully understand how these changes will affect you and your partner or possibly your spouse.


Whitewood vs. Wolf – Historic Victory for Civil Rights in Pennsylvania

Same-Sex Marriage, Pennsylvania Law, James Lange, Lange Financial Group, LLCWhitewood vs. Wolf represents an historic victory for civil rights in Pennsylvania. Now Pennsylvania same-sex couples can get married in Pennsylvania and not only enjoy all the traditional benefits of marriage, but also the financial benefits of marriage.

Windsor gave all same-sex married couples the unlimited marital deduction for federal estate tax purposes. Revenue Ruling 2013-17 gave all same-sex couples equal income tax treatment. Whitewood gives PA same-sex couples the right to marry in PA and have their out-of-state legal marriage recognized in PA.

From an economic standpoint, social security spousal benefits which can easily be hundreds of thousands of dollars over time, is a new economic right for same-sex married couples. Marital equality is economic justice.

– James Lange
CPA / Attorney

LGBT Workshop Coming Up!

“Jim Lange provides a comprehensive road map to all the new retirement and estate planning strategies that were not previously available to same-sex couples.” — Ed Slott, America’s IRA Expert

Writing about Jim’s new book, Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples

The defeat of DOMA opens new doors and new avenues for same-sex couples to cut taxes and increase wealth. Take advantage of significant new opportunities in tax planning, maximizing Social Security benefits, Roth IRA Conversions, and advanced strategies for your IRAs and retirement plans, wills, trusts, and estate plans.


Our strategies offer you flexibility and smart planning that can save you and your family hundreds of thousands of dollars. New opportunities and new pitfalls abound in the shifting legal landscape of marriage equality.

Recent rulings have dramatically changed the financial, tax, and retirement and estate planning landscape for many PA same-sex couples. However, families are not taking action on strategies that can benefit PA same-sex couples. One big reason: there is a good chance you are not aware of them!

Many PA same-sex couples toy with the idea of getting married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages—but now there are life-changing financial reasons to tie-the-knot and return to live in Pennsylvania. Getting married and combining new strategies (only available to married couples) with old concepts like maximizing Social Security benefits and calculated Roth IRA conversions can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional income over the long term. Furthermore, there are new opportunities in estate planning, trusts (including total return trusts), and other strategies. Add in low-cost index funds to increase safety, increase returns and reduce investment expenses, and other innovative strategies, and you have an arsenal at your fingertips to substantially increase your wealth and financial security.

This workshop will open the doors to savvy planning for same-sex couples.

Our firm has been creating opportunities for non-traditional couples and families for over a decade, but now we have the tools to really save same-sex couples a lot of money. We can help same-sex couples construct retirement and estate plans that will put them on a par with non-gay couples who know the best strategies.

Attend one or all three of the FREE Workshops–presented by CPA and attorney James Lange – described below. You’ll discover how to control your wealth, legally reduce taxes, avoid probate, navigate the changing legal landscape, and make sure your family gets the most from what you’ve got.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center

Oakland Room

100 Lytton Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

9:30 – 11:30 am

New Estate Planning Strategies for Same-Sex Couples with IRAs and Retirement Plans and Who Says You Can’t Control From the Grave? How Same-Sex Couples Can Use Trusts to Protect Themselves and Their Families

In this workshop, you will learn about:

  • New strategies for the best way to handle IRAs and retirement plans if you are in a committed same-sex relationship.
  • The total-return trust for same-sex couples—a means to provide an income stream for your partner, but ultimately return at least some funds to your extended biological family (should you want to).
  • Alternatives to the total-return trust when your primary concern is your partner or spouse.
  • Trusts as beneficiaries of your IRA or retirement plans, whether this planning is appropriate for you, and how it can be done.
  • Avoiding probate: Should non-traditional couples plan to avoid probate?
  • Trusts for minors: “Sorry my dear, no Ferrari for you at 21!”
  • Trusts for special-needs heirs.
  • Spendthrift trusts: how to protect challenging adults from themselves and their creditors.

1:00 – 3:00 pm

The Demise of DOMA: New Financial Planning Strategies for Pennsylvania’s Same-Sex Couples

In this workshop, you’ll discover:

  • To tie the knot, or not? What benefits are available to same-sex couples legally married in other states, but living in Pennsylvania? Does it make sense to get married regardless of PA’s current laws?
  • What does the DOMA ruling mean for spousal and survivor Social Security benefits? And how can non-traditional couples take advantage of these new benefits?
  • The synergy of optimizing Social Security benefits with Roth IRA conversions to increase your family’s generational wealth.
  • How to structure your wills, trusts, and retirement planning to work with today’s law, but be flexible enough to adjust to the changing legal status of same-sex marriages.

3:15 – 3:45 pm

What’s a Better Investment Strategy: Active Investing or Investing with Index Funds?

Here’s a statistic that your money manager may not want you to know: 86% of active asset managers underperform the market.* The truth is you’re likely better off with an optimized portfolio of index funds. In this special bonus workshop, we’ll cover:

  • Ideal asset allocation portfolio recommendations for your IRA and retirement plans.
  • The differences between active and passive management.
  • Whether active managers and investors statistically outperform their index benchmarks.
  • Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) index funds, engineered using Nobel Prize winning research.

* 2012 Index Funds Advisors, Inc. “On Personal Finance: Beating Index Funds Takes Rare Luck or Genius” by Jeff Brown.

About Your Instructor, Attorney and CPA James Lange

James Lange Speaking

Attorney/CPA James Lange just finished his 4th book, Retire Secure! for Same-Sex Couples. Though not 100% official, it looks like it will become an AARP book and Evan Wolfson, founder of the Freedom to Marry campaign, will write the foreword. Jim started the first estate planning website for same-sex couples,, in Pittsburgh in 2002.

With 30 years of retirement and estate planning experience, Lange and his team have drafted more than 1,800 wills and trusts.

Jim is the author of two bestselling books including Retire Secure! (Wiley, 2006 and 2009) endorsed by Charles Schwab, Larry King, Ed Slott, Jane Bryant Quinn, Roger Ibbotson, Burton Malkiel, and The Roth Revolution, Pay Taxes Once and Never Again (Morgan James, 2011) endorsed by Ed Slott, Natalie Choate and Bob Keebler. He is the creator of Lange’s Cascading Beneficiary Plan™ and The Roth IRA Institute, and the recently redesigned and improved

Jim’s strategies have been endorsed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal (30 times), Newsweek, Money Magazine, Smart Money, Reader’s Digest, Financial Planning, Bottom Line, Kiplinger’s, and many other publications. His articles have appeared in Bottom Line, Financial Planning, The Tax Adviser (the peer reviewed journal of the AICPA), the Journal of Retirement Planning, and PA Lawyer Magazine (article on the Demise of DOMA published in January/February 2014 issue).

To reserve your seat for one, or all three, of the FREE workshops, call 412-521-2732 today. Seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.

Partners are encouraged to attend.

Workshop Details

9:30-11:30 am

New Estate Planning Strategies for Same-Sex Couples with IRAs and Retirement Plans and Who Says You Can’t Control From the Grave? How Same-Sex Couples Can Use Trusts to Protect Themselves and Their Families.

The new laws allow for much more favorable treatment of IRAs and retirement plans. This workshop will start with how the new law works and what pro-active steps you can take to protect your partner/spouse and other heirs. We also delve into estate planning and the use of trusts. Of particular interest in same-sex relationships are establishing trusts when the underlying assets are IRAs and retirement plans. We will also cover Total Return Trusts, which allows flexibility in naming beneficiaries and can protect your surviving partner for his or her life. We also present the alternative to a Total Return Trust. Jim will show you the right way to plan to protect your family.

Frequently, special family circumstances make trusts appropriate for your heirs. Minors, spendthrifts, special-needs beneficiaries, and family members with drug or alcohol addiction are often great reasons to draft trusts. We will help you identify the relevant factors in deciding whether a trust is appropriate and, if it is, how to combine the benefits of a trust to get it right.

Should Same-Sex Couples Plan to Avoid Probate?

There are definite pros and cons to avoiding probate. In states like PA that do not recognize same-sex marriage, avoiding probate can save a lot of hassle. Avoiding probate minimizes delays and paperwork and is less expensive for your heirs. The main way to avoid probate is through the use of a revocable or living trust. But simply establishing a trust is not sufficient. It needs to be funded to serve its purpose.

Funding a trust often means transferring certain assets like investments and even your house into the trust. These transfers take time and money. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? It isn’t a slam dunk “yes” every time. Jim Lange will explain these topics and more in this workshop specifically designed with same-sex couples in mind.

1:00-3:00 pm

The Demise of DOMA: New Financial Planning Strategies for Pennsylvania’s Same-Sex Couples

In June of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional and for federal estate tax purposes, a marriage cannot be narrowly defined as solely between a man and a woman. The case was later expanded to include income taxes in a revenue ruling that followed.

In this comprehensive workshop, CPA and estate planning attorney James Lange will help you navigate the shifting legal landscape that exists for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania and other states where marriage equality does not exist. Find out what opportunities now exist with the demise of DOMA and how to use them to your family’s best benefit. Same-sex couples can now benefit from the some of the same strategies that straight couples have used for years.

Jim will guide you through the complexities of flexible estate planning, optimizing spousal and survivor Social Security benefits, Roth IRA conversions, and other tax planning strategies. There are many new and advantageous strategies—all legal and offering something approaching marriage equality—with additional changes on the horizon that will be significant for you and your family.

3:15-3:45 pm

What’s a Better Investment Strategy: Active or Investing with Index Funds?

Active or index? Most people do not tackle this question until after they have amassed a large sum in their retirement accounts or other plans and are beginning to think about retiring or slowing down. However, for those who want to continue to preserve and grow their wealth, this is one of the most important questions each investor must ask. There is a clear trend away from actively managed funds and toward index investing. But if index funds are the right answer, which funds should you hold in your portfolio?

In this information-packed workshop, we present data on what we feel is the best set of index funds on the planet, Dimensional Fund Advisors. They have two Nobel Prize winners on their board of directors. Join us for this brief investment workshop to learn more about index investing and DFA and how they might benefit your family.

PA Same-Sex Couples Seek Marriage Licenses

February 14, 2014 12:13 AM

By Richard Webner / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The October 2006 wedding of A.J. and Diane Anderson had all the elements of a typical ceremony — a tuxedo, a gown, a walk down the aisle, family and friends in the audience, an exchange of vows in front of a pastor. When it was over, the couple left the Metropolitan Community Church of Pittsburgh for a honeymoon at a bed and breakfast.

Unlike most weddings, though, it wasn't sealed with a Pennsylvania marriage license. A.J. and Diane, who are lesbians, officially were married in New York in 2012, but their relationship is unrecognized by Pennsylvania.

This morning, the two women and four other same-sex couples will celebrate Valentine's Day by applying for marriage licenses at the City-County Building. They don't expect to leave with licenses, but they hope the event, organized by Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania, or ME4PA, will raise awareness of their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage.

"We're really expecting everyone to get turned down, but the more this stays in the limelight, the more people will understand that there is an inequality," said Tamala Arbaczewski, who will attend with her partner, Colleen.

The couples will indeed be turned down, said Amie Downs, director of the Allegheny County Communications Division. The clerks on duty will tell them they can't receive licenses under state law and will suggest they contact their state representatives, she said.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald hoped to attend the event to lend his support but had a scheduling conflict, Ms. Downs said.

The event is part of an effort by gay rights organizations and other groups to make same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania.

In July, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit challenging a 1996 state statute that outlawed same-sex marriage on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment. The trial, Whitewood v. Wolf, is set to begin in June.

The groups also are advocating for House Bill 1686, which would make same-sex marriage legal. Introduced in October, it was referred to the judiciary committee.

Before Pennsylvania can become the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage, the gay rights movement must confront a determined opposition. Last year, several state legislators began the latest efforts to pass an amendment to the state Constitution declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman. The amendment, which has 36 sponsors, has been in committee since May.

Melissa Watson, the Allegheny County coordinator for ME4PA, is optimistic about the chances for gay marriage in Pennsylvania.

"If not this year, next year," she said. "I think Pennsylvania is so ready."

Richard Webner: 412-263-4903 or
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