GAY JUDGE CONTESTS FATHER’S WILL

A unique probate litigation case has prompted controversy among advocates for same-sex unions. A gay man and his partner decided to become parents using a surrogate, but the man’s father has stipulated in his will that the 2-year-old boy will not receive an inheritance unless the father marries the child’s mother.

That man is a criminal court judge, and he has decided to contest the will left behind by his wealthy father. The document, which would require that the man enter into a false marriage of convenience, is under fire because of its unusual demands.

The petition filed in court has argued that the man’s partner is the boy’s de facto “mother,” thanks to regulations that protect same-sex couples. Similarly, locking the boy out of the family fortune is a legal decision that opposes policies that legally shelter same-sex couples and their offspring.

Even though the legal documents indicate that the man was accepting of his son’s lifestyle, the wealthy benefactor chose to include the unusual stipulation. The reason for that decision remains unclear, according to legal experts.

A petition is pending that would allow the boy, along with two other grandchildren, to share a trust that would be established in the grandfather’s name. It is somewhat of a long shot, though, according to legal experts, because family members are entitled to shun their heirs at their own discretion. Even though these decisions may seem socially unsavory, benefactors may choose to block financial distribution to relatives involved in same-sex relationships, multiracial relationships or other activities.

Ultimately, legal experts say that individuals are generally permitted to disperse their property in the way they see fit, even if those plans are discriminatory. The case is still under consideration.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.