Saturday, August 1, 2015
A Pennsylvania Judge has recently recognized a common law same-sex marriage even though one of the spouses died before the State legalized same-sex marriage. Thanks to Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr.’s decision Sabrina Maurer will be able to collect death benefits and have access to her spouse’s safety deposit box. Kim Underwood died a year before a Federal Judge ordered Pennsylvania to recognize same-sex marriage and any marriage performed before the ruling. This new decision extends that rule to validate common law marriages that existed before same-sex marriage was legalized. This decision will likely have a major impact on a whole host of issues dealing with estate planning and distribution of probate and non-probate assets.
See Maryclaire Dale, Judge deems gay couple as spouses after 1 partner’s death, New Jersey Herald, July 31, 2015.