With recent changes in marital laws, more gay couples are seeking the counsel of financial advisors to help them navigate the complex legal and financial landscape that comes with being in a same-sex partnership. This represents a challenge and an opportunity for advisors working with gay couples.

There has been an unprecedented shift in the way same-sex couples are perceived, from both a legal and a social perspective. The Supreme Court's rejection in June of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act paved the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriage. But because the court did not require states to follow suit, the legal waters are still murky. Same-sex couples married in one of the 13 states that recognize gay marriage will have full state and federal recognition -- but same-sex couples in the other states will not. To further complicate matters, there is ambiguity regarding how to apply this new standard. Helping these couples figure out how to plan their finances and protect their assets remains complicated, and will for some time.

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