Same Sex Couples, Inheritance and the Need to Dissolve a Domestic Partnership

Did You Know? If you entered into a reg­is­tered same sex Domestic Partnership in Oregon you have the same rights of inher­i­tance to obtain your partner’s estate as a mar­ried per­son does. Oregon’s Domestic Partnership law gives reg­is­tered DP’s the same rights as a mar­ried per­son under any applic­a­ble state laws.  The prob­lem is that this can lead to unex­pected results.  It is very impor­tant for same sex cou­ples to LEGALLY DISSOLVE their Registered Domestic Partnership if they split up.  For exam­ple, if you don’t dis­solve your RDP and you do not have a valid updated will, your “ex-​​partner” may be able to inherit all of your prop­erty as a sur­viv­ing spouse.  Even if you do have a valid will nam­ing some­one else as your des­ig­nated heir.  your “ex-​​partner” might be able inherit a por­tion of your prop­erty against the wishes spec­i­fied in you Will.   

In April and May 2007, the Oregon state leg­is­la­ture passed leg­is­la­tion to make vir­tu­ally all of the rights afforded to mar­ried cou­ples avail­able to same-​​sex cou­ples. The new sta­tus is referred to in Oregon law as a domes­tic part­ner­ship, avoid­ing the use of the terms mar­riage or civil union. The law went into effect February 1, 2008. Oregon’s leg­is­la­tion has no cer­e­mony require­ment. In Oregon cou­ples are only required to reg­is­ter their domes­tic part­ner­ships through the sub­mis­sion of a paper form.

Because of this sim­pli­fied process, many Gay and Lesbian cou­ples became legally rec­og­nized by reg­is­ter­ing with­out think­ing about the full extent of the con­se­quences of this reg­is­tra­tion.   And, more impor­tantly, many reg­is­tered cou­ples do not under­stand the impor­tance of get­ting the reg­is­tra­tion dis­solved if and when they split up.  The inher­i­tance issue is just one of many that Gay and Lesbian cou­ples could inad­ver­tently end up with results against their wishes or desires.

Posted in Estate Planning, Inheritance, LGBT Legal Rights, Probate, Same Sex Relationships, Separation Agreements Tagged with: , ,

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