Friday, July 10, 2009

Wisconsin Domestic Partnership Guide

For those interested in learning more about Wisconsin's new Domestic Partnership law, Fair Wisconsin has put together a comprehensive guide. The new law will take effect August 1, 2009. Under the new law, domestic partnerships is described to be:
Domestic partnership in Wisconsin is a legal status that provides same sex couples who register as domestic partners with certain limited legal protections.
One aspect of this law that I notice is that it does NOT apply to heterosexual partnered couples; if a man and women are partnered, but not married, then there is no right to inherit under Wisconsin law. This would only occur if the parties completed a will.

Under the law, domestic partners will have inheritance rights that did not exist before (partners could inherit if one completed a will, but if there was no will, there was no right to inherit):
Inheritance and Survivor Protections - A surviving domestic partner:
• inherits from the estate of domestic partner who dies without a will;
• can be awarded the couple’s home and vehicles that are titled in the name of the deceased partner, as well as personal and household items of the deceased partner, by a probate court;
• may have certain protections against creditors;
• can transfer a deceased partner’s assets to the surviving partner without probate if the total value is less than $50,000;
• can receive death benefits if the deceased partner was killed in a workplace accident, with special benefits if the partner was a police officer or firefighters killed in the line of duty;
• can get victim compensation if the deceased partner was injured or killed while trying to prevent a crime or assist a law enforcement officer;
• can sue for a partner’s wrongful death.

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