Even many of those Washington residents who never read one of Gore Vidal's novels or saw one of his plays knew who he was. For decades, the author was known as much for his wit as for his literary works. That wit made him a great interview subject for magazine profiles and documentary filmmakers, and it also made him a formidable adversary in a number of feuds with other artists and intellectuals. That kind of dispute is carrying on after his death last year. A legal dispute now pits Vidal's family members against administrators of a trust he left behind.
It was only last December when Washington's same-sex couples were legally allowed to get married in the state, but estate planning and tax issues have changed for these couples quite a lot in the months since then. First, there was the Supreme Court's decision that struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which meant that the federal government could no longer deny federal benefits to same-sex couples who were legally married. Next, just last month, the Internal Revenue Service outlined new rules that made it clear that married same-sex couples will be able to file their taxes just as heterosexual married couples have long been able to do, as either "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately."