Family Law Blog

Inheritance Rights of Domestic Partners

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When it comes to registering domestic partnerships, couples share many of the same rights as marriage. However, there is no argument that there are some distinct differences in rights when it comes to domestic partners and married couples, which is why it is always worth looking into your rights as a domestic partner.

One of the many things that domestic partnerships often overlook, or just plain don't want to think about, is the end of life. Do inheritance rights of domestic partnerships differ from marriage? Knowing and not knowing could mean the difference between being well cared for and losing everything.

In marriage, when a spouse dies without a will or intestate, the estate will still pass on to their living spouse, but is it the same with a domestic partnership? In California, yes it is. California recognizes many of the same rights of domestic partners as it does with married couples, meaning that if one partner dies, even without a will, the other partner will still have inheritance rights akin to a spouse.

However, not all states are as understanding. If the domestic partnership couple moves to another state, they may not be afforded the same rights. Some states will not recognize the inheriting rights of domestic partners at all. This means if they are not specifically written into a will as an inheritor, the living partner will receive nothing.

If you are in a domestic partnership in California, you enjoy a number of liberal rights, but that doesn't mean you don't need a lawyer when things go south. If you need legal representation, contact us today.