Estate of Denial: “The California Court of Appeal established an important new legal protection for unmarried partners who are wrongfully prevented from inheriting property from each other when one partner dies. The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the surviving same-sex partner of a deceased Southern California man in a lawsuit alleging that the deceased partner’s sister had intentionally prevented him from signing a will that would have left a share of his property to the surviving partner. The two men were not married and were not registered domestic partners, but had been in a committed relationship for nearly ten years.
The surviving partner, Brent Beckwith, filed the suit against his deceased partner’s sister, Susan Dahl, after the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in a probate proceeding that Beckwith had no right to any share of his partner’s property because he had died without leaving a will and the couple were neither married nor registered as domestic partners. California law allows registered same-sex partners to inherit property in the same way as spouses, but provides no inheritance rights to couples who have not registered as domestic partners if one of them dies without a will.”