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Seminar Discusses Planning For Same-Sex Partners

Affluent same-sex domestic partners and members of unmarried couples gathered at the Argyle Hotel in West Hollywood recently to learn more about developing a financial strategy thattakes into account their unique circumstances -- particularly when it comes to tax and estate planning.

The Comprehensive Wealth Management Seminar for Unmarried Couples was sponsored by Scudder Private Investment Counsel, the group within Zurich Scudder Investments that manages more than $16 billion in assets for wealthy individuals, families, endowments, foundations and middle market institutions.

The seminar was led by Ted R. Ridlehuber, president and CEO of the Cannon Financial Institute and an expert in financial planning issues facing unmarried couples. Mr. Ridlehuber was introduced by J.R. Mathena, the Los Angeles-based Scudder Private Investment Counsel vice president who works most closely with the gay and lesbian community.

"In addition to the customary challenges of managing assets, a major concern for affluent single gender couples is ensuring that their wealth goes

to whom they want," said Mr. Mathena. "Estate planning for members of the gay community and unmarried couples must consider that often there are no children involved, or when there are, only one member of the couple is usually recognized by law as the legal guardian. There are no joint tax returns, and when a member of a same-gender couple dies, there is no automatic tax-free transfer of investments and assets."

"There is a real need among gays and lesbians, who control an estimated $800 billion in assets, for customized financial solutions that mitigate their unique tax burdens and estate allocation issues -- and also reflect the individual's investment philosophies," said Mr. Ridlehuber.