[Tom Bridegroom] [yes, that’s his actual name!] had been with his partner, Shane Bitney Crone, for six years. They traveled together, lived together and started a business together. They lived in California, yet had never been married.
Unfortunately, Tom’s parents were not accepting of their child’s homosexuality or his relationship with Shane. When he died, all of Tom’s assets passed to his parents, even though to any outsider looking in, Shane was clearly his closest survivor. However, neither one of them had end-of-life documents. Shane had no legal right to any of Tom’s possessions, not even the ones with little monetary value, but exceptional sentimental weight. Nor was he able to hear firsthand from the doctor the circumstances of his partner’s death.
Until this country gets its act together, LGBT couples need to watch out for this. If you live in a state that does not give you the legal protection of a civil union or legal marriage, you need to make independent arrangement to have the disposition of your property settled via will and not through intestacy. Medical proxies and wills are two extraordinarily important documents for LGBT couples to have if they live in a state without same-sex marriage protections. In states with no legal protection for same-sex partners, you will be fucked in probate if your partner has not given written legal consent inter vivos to give you rights in the disposition of their assets, or to help them make end-of-life decisions.
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