California’s Domestic Partner Law Vindicates Decedeased Gay Man’s Partner Against Decedent’s Family

From this story at Reuters:

In a potentially landmark case, San Francisco Attorney Drexel A. Bradshaw has won a case on behalf of a Gay man whose rights to inherit under California’s Domestic Partner Law had been challenged by the family of his deceased domestic partner. The deceased man’s siblings had forced their brother to execute a new trust — cutting out his partner of 14 years — while the man was schizophrenic, on narcotics, and in the final stages of battling cancer. Bradshaw’s successful litigation charged that the family had attempted to unlawfully overturn the man’s will while he was in not in a mental state to do so.

The facts of this particular case are pretty fantastic: An individual obviously highly susceptible to undue influence by virtue of his mental illness, his drug use and the copious amount of morphine he was likely on (being in end-stage cancer), any of which could be enough on their own to find undue influence, should not lessen the significance of this win.

“The family of our client’s dying partner used his compromised condition to try and overturn a lawfully executive will,” Bradshaw continued, having argued that the man’s psychiatric disorder, weakened state, and high doses of morphine show that decedent was of unsound mind and susceptible to undue influence at the time his siblings attempted to execute a new trust which, in effect, would have dis-inherited the man’s domestic partner.

What I find particularly disurbing about this family’s behavior was that they used their brother’s mental infirmity to create and reinforce the delusion “that he had ended his relationship with [the decedent], which was not true, and leave the entirety of his estate to his siblings.”

Well Done Mr. Drexel.

Thanks to Professor Beyer for this one.

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