U.S. Supremimages (1)e Court deci­sions have giv­en same-sex mar­ried cou­ples the same rights and priv­i­leges as oppo­site-sex mar­ried cou­ples. If you’re mar­ried or on your way to the altar, you’ll want to sort through the finan­cial impli­ca­tions and poten­tial oppor­tu­ni­ties you have.

1. Eval­u­ate your employ­ee benefits

Once you’re mar­ried, you may want to coor­di­nate work­place ben­e­fits with your spouse. Start by con­tact­ing your employ­er’s human resource depart­ment in order to eval­u­ate the ben­e­fits that are avail­able to you. For exam­ple, you may want to enroll your spouse in your health and den­tal plans, or can­cel your own cov­er­age if you opt for cov­er­age under your spouse’s plan. If your employ­er offers vol­un­tary group life insur­ance cov­er­age for your spouse, you may now want to con­sid­er pur­chas­ing it. You may also be able to help cov­er your spouse’s health insur­ance expens­es through con­tri­bu­tions to a flex­i­ble spend­ing account or health sav­ings account. Nor­mal­ly you can make ben­e­fit changes only dur­ing your employ­er’s annu­al open enroll­ment peri­od, but under IRS guide­lines there’s an excep­tion for cer­tain qual­i­fy­ing events, includ­ing mar­riage. How­ev­er, you have a lim­it­ed win­dow (30 days) to make eli­gi­ble cov­er­age changes. If you don’t make these changes with­in this peri­od, you’ll need to wait until the next open enroll­ment sea­son. Your com­pa­ny’s human resource depart­ment can pro­vide guid­ance about oth­er infor­ma­tion you’ll need to update. For exam­ple, you may need to report name and address changes, and update con­tact infor­ma­tion and ben­e­fi­cia­ry des­ig­na­tions for your life insur­ance, retire­ment plan, and oth­er ben­e­fit plans.

2. Take a look at your income taxes 

Since tax year 2013 (after the Supreme Court’s Wind­sor deci­sion), all same-sex mar­ried cou­ples have been required to choose either “mar­ried fil­ing joint­ly” or “mar­ried fil­ing sep­a­rate­ly” when fil­ing their fed­er­al income tax returns. But until the Oberge­fell deci­sion in June 2015, states that did not rec­og­nize the mar­riages of same-sex cou­ples did not allow them to file their state income tax returns joint­ly. As of tax year 2015, all mar­ried cou­ples must file both their fed­er­al and state income tax returns as mar­ried (joint­ly or sep­a­rate­ly). If you were legal­ly mar­ried before the Wind­sor deci­sion and thus had to file your tax­es as sin­gle, you might con­sid­er amend­ing your tax returns to see if doing so would be advan­ta­geous. You gen­er­al­ly have three years from the date you filed your fed­er­al tax return or two years after the date you paid the tax due (whichev­er is lat­er) to amend your return. This means you may be able to amend 2012 returns until as late as Octo­ber 17, 2016, depend­ing on when you filed your 2012 return. If you lived in a state that did not rec­og­nize your mar­riage until Oberge­fell, you may also be able to amend state income tax returns for pri­or years if the time peri­od for doing so has not expired–check your state’s laws. If you and your spouse both work, keep in mind that you may need to adjust your income tax with­hold­ing to account for cir­cum­stances that may affect your over­all tax lia­bil­i­ty. For exam­ple, now that you’re mar­ried, you may be eli­gi­ble for new tax deduc­tions or cred­its, or you may end up in a high­er tax brack­et based on your com­bined income. You can make any nec­es­sary adjust­ments by com­plet­ing updat­ed tax forms, such as a new Form W‑4. Talk to a tax pro­fes­sion­al for help with your par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. For more infor­ma­tion about with­hold­ing and oth­er tax issues, vis­it irs.gov.

3. Con­sid­er your life and dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance needs 

Take a new look at your insur­ance needs to make sure that you have the right types and amounts of cov­er­age. Once you’re mar­ried, you may find that you and your spouse are finan­cial­ly depen­dent on each oth­er. Hav­ing ade­quate life and dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance can help ensure that your fam­i­ly’s finan­cial needs will be tak­en care of if some­thing should hap­pen to you.

4. Revis­it your retire­ment plans 

Mar­riage will affect your retire­ment goals and income needs, so it’s a good idea to have an hon­est dis­cus­sion about your finances and expec­ta­tions for the future. Do you and your spouse share the same retire­ment vision? Do you have a tar­get retire­ment date in mind? How much have you saved? You may have been plan­ning sep­a­rate­ly, but now you may need to make joint deci­sions about retire­ment. You may need to re-eval­u­ate your retire­ment sav­ings options. Are either of you cov­ered by a defined ben­e­fit pen­sion plan? If so, make sure you under­stand any addi­tion­al ben­e­fits and pay­ment options avail­able to mar­ried tax­pay­ers. If you’re cov­ered by an employ­er-spon­sored defined con­tri­bu­tion plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, does it make sense to direct more of your mon­ey to one plan, based on your retire­ment goals, invest­ing options, and the avail­abil­i­ty of an employ­er match? You may also need to make adjust­ments if you’re con­tribut­ing to an IRA, because dif­fer­ent rules and lim­its apply to mar­ried cou­ples. For exam­ple, if you’ve been con­tribut­ing to a Roth IRA, you’ll need to deter­mine whether you’re still eli­gi­ble to make con­tri­bu­tions. This will depend on the com­bined income of you and your spouse. Or if you’re fil­ing a joint tax return, you may now have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­tribute to a spousal IRA, even if one spouse isn’t work­ing. Sim­i­lar­ly, if you’ve been con­tribut­ing to a tra­di­tion­al IRA, your abil­i­ty to deduct those con­tri­bu­tions may be lim­it­ed, depend­ing on your com­bined income and whether either of you is cov­ered by an employ­er retire­ment plan. You’ll also want to review ben­e­fi­cia­ry des­ig­na­tions for all of your retire­ment plans to make sure they reflect your mar­i­tal sta­tus. Keep in mind that your spouse will gen­er­al­ly be eli­gi­ble for sur­vivor ben­e­fits from a defined ben­e­fit plan or defined con­tri­bu­tion plan and must con­sent in writ­ing if you plan to name some­one else as beneficiary.

5. Learn more about Social Security 

Social Secu­ri­ty is an impor­tant source of income for most indi­vid­u­als. When you’re sin­gle, you’re only eli­gi­ble for cer­tain ben­e­fits based on your own Social Secu­ri­ty record, but after you mar­ry you may also be eli­gi­ble for Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits based on your spouse’s earn­ings record. These include sur­vivor ben­e­fits and spousal retire­ment and dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits. If you’re still decid­ing when to mar­ry, keep in mind that these eli­gi­bil­i­ty require­ments include a length of mar­riage require­ment. For exam­ple, you gen­er­al­ly need to be legal­ly mar­ried for at least nine months for your spouse to qual­i­fy for sur­vivor ben­e­fits (unless an excep­tion applies) and twelve months for your spouse to qual­i­fy for spousal retire­ment and dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits. The Social Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (SSA) has announced that it will treat same-sex mar­ried cou­ples the same as oppo­site-sex mar­ried cou­ples when deter­min­ing eli­gi­bil­i­ty for ben­e­fits. This means that all cou­ples (even those who were liv­ing in for­mer non­recog­ni­tion states) may apply for Social Secu­ri­ty spousal and sur­vivor ben­e­fits. If you were pre­vi­ous­ly denied ben­e­fits, you should con­tact the SSA as soon as pos­si­ble for fur­ther guid­ance. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the Social Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion’s web­site, ssa.gov. If you have ques­tions about how mar­riage may affect your claim call (800) 772‑1213, or con­tact your local Social Secu­ri­ty office.

6. Rethink your estate plan 

Con­sid­er review­ing your estate plan­ning goals, strate­gies, and doc­u­ments with an estate plan­ning attor­ney to deter­mine whether changes are need­ed. Using the unlim­it­ed mar­i­tal deduc­tion, mar­ried cou­ples can leave an unlim­it­ed amount of assets to the sur­viv­ing spouse, if the spouse is a U.S. cit­i­zen. This means the sur­viv­ing spouse may inher­it assets with­out owing fed­er­al estate tax­es. Spous­es may also make gifts or trans­fer prop­er­ty to each oth­er with­out pay­ing fed­er­al gift or income tax­es, and gen­er­al­ly pass any unused estate tax exemp­tion to the sur­viv­ing spouse. If you pre­vi­ous­ly pur­chased life insur­ance to cov­er estate tax­es, you should deter­mine if it is still need­ed. To pro­tect your spouse and oth­er loved ones, make sure your doc­u­ments are up-to-date, includ­ing your will and durable pow­er of attor­ney. And to help make sure your wish­es are fol­lowed in the event of a med­ical emer­gency or inca­pac­i­ty, you may want to have health-care direc­tives in place that will allow your spouse to make med­ical deci­sions on your behalf.