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Court Decides Estate Issues Regarding Same Sex Marriage

The deceased man endowed in his will his three surviving brothers, a goddaughter and his same sex partner spouse that he married in Canada. He left the residue of his estate to the respondent, his same-sex partner spouse. The deceased man appointed the respondent spouse as the executor of his will, the said will included a no-contest clause which threatens anyone who challenges the legality of the will shall be eliminated. The respondent, as the executor named in the will, filed a petition for probate in the Surrogate’s Court. The respondent identified himself as the deceased man’s surviving spouse and the sole successor. The respondent served the beneficiaries with notice of validation and the Surrogate’s Court issued a ruling granting validation.

On January 26, 2009, the Surrogate’s Court issued an opinion finding that the respondent was indeed the deceased man’s surviving spouse and sole successor. In regard with such findings, citation of the validation proceeding need not be issued to anyone. The court found that the deceased man’s same-sex marriage to the respondent was valid under the laws of Canada, where it was performed. The said marriage did not fall into either of the two exceptions to the marriage recognition rule, as the marriage was not affirmatively prohibited or proscribed by natural law. Accordingly, the Surrogate’s Court found that the marriage was entitled to recognition.

The appellant alleges that the court was not in jurisdiction to grant the validation proceeding without having been issued with citation being the deceased man’s surviving siblings.

New York Probate Lawyer said subsequently, the legal representative served the beneficiaries with notice of validation and the Surrogate’s Court issued a judgment granting the validation of the last will and testament of the deceased.

The appellant spouse argued that the recognition of the deceased man’s same-sex marriage violated a public policy in New York and that he should have been cited in the validation proceeding and provided with an opportunity to file objections as a beneficiary.

By the order to make a court appearance, the appellant spouse petitioned the Surrogate’s court for the cancellation of the validation proceeding and permission to file objections, claiming that the court was without jurisdiction to grant validation without citation having been issued on the deceased’s surviving siblings. A Staten Island Probate Lawyer said the appellant argued that the recognition of the deceased’s same-sex marriage violated the public policy in New York and with that he should have been cited in the validation proceeding and provided with an opportunity to file objections as a beneficiary. The court found that the appellant’s position that same-sex marriage violated public policy had been specifically addressed and rejected by the appellate division, and with that the petition of the appellant is accordingly dismissed and deliberately without merit.

Based on the records, New York’s long-settled marriage recognition rule affords courtesy to out-of-state marriages and that recognizes as valid a marriage considered valid in the place where it was celebrated. The New York law does not extend such recognition when the foreign marriage is opposing to the prohibitions of natural law or the express prohibitions of the ruling. The said marriage does not fall within either of the two exceptions to the marriage recognition law.

Furthermore, the failure of the legislature to enact a bill benefits the most undefined foundation for positive inferences. Thus, Queens Probate Lawyers said that the Legislature’s failure to allow same-sex couples to enter into marriage in the state or require recognition of validly performed out-of-state same-sex marriages, cannot serve as an expression of public policy for the State. In the absence of an express legal prohibition legislative action or inaction does not qualify as an exception to the marriage recognition rule.

Different States and different countries have distinct laws and ruling in dealing with marital concerns. Marrying in another state or country or entering into a union with someone outside of your state may cause conflicting issues. If you and your partner are caught in this kind of problems, consult with Stephen Bilkis and Associates.

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