Domestic Partnership Inheritance Rights
Although same sex marriage is now legal in the US, some couples may still opt for a domestic partnership instead of a marriage. (Terminating a domestic partnership is significantly easier than getting a legal divorce.) Domestic partnerships in California allow same sex couples many of the same rights and privileges afforded to married couples. However, only marriage gives couple access to federal protections.
If you have a registered domestic partnership in California, discuss your estate planning options with a lawyer. In addition to the legal advice you will get, a qualified estate planner will also guide you through the process of disclosure about your will and final wishes.
Although the legality of domestic partnership inheritance rights is well established through state law and case history, there is an increased chance of a will being contested when the deceased had been in a registered domestic partnership. And while the law may be solid, if your will and final wishes are not legally documented, your estate could sit in the courts for years until a probate judge makes a final decision.
Regardless of relationship status, state law, or federal law, you should always have an estate plan and medical wishes document prepared by an estate lawyer. Don’t leave your estate to chance, even when the law is on your side.