Does an ex registered domestic partner have the right to serve as executor of the former partner’s will or inherit property?
California law is clear that the termination of a registered domestic partnership also terminates the former partner’s right to serve as executor as well as to inherit property under the will, UNLESS the will was specifically written to state that the partner inherits even in the event of termination of the partnership.
Here is a typical scenario: my client’s mother or father had entered into a registered domestic partnership and had left property to the partner under the terms of his or her will. The parent also had nominated the partner to serve as executor of the will. But, at some point before either partner died, the domestic partnership was terminated. Basically this is like the equivalent of a divorce for registered domestic partnerships.
Later, when my client’s parent dies, my client is wondering whether the now-ex-partner still gets to serve as executor and inherit property under the will.
Under California law, unless the will specifically stated that the partner inherits and serves as executor even in the event of the termination, the partner does not have these rights.
But be advised: nothing happens automatically. The child in this circumstance would need to file a competing probate petition in probate court explaining to the judge the circumstances so the court can make a ruling that the ex registered domestic partner does not inherit.
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307