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Establishing a Domestic Partnership for Estate Planning Purposes

Establishing a Domestic Partnership for Estate Planning Purposes
For unmarried couples, it is important to have proper estate planning documents to have legal standing to each other. The Domestic Partnership Act established domestic partnerships for same sex and opposite sex (age 62 and older) nonrelated partners.  Couples 62 years an older that want to establish a Domestic partnership need to establish the following criteria:
  • ·         Share a common residence in New Jersey or in any other jurisdiction provided that at least one of the applicants is a member of a New Jersey State-administered retirement system;
  • ·         Both persons are jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare as evidenced by joint financial arrangements or joint ownership of real or personal property;
  • ·         Both persons agree to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic living expenses during the domestic partnership;
  • ·          Neither applicant is in a marriage or civil union recognized by New Jersey law or a member of another domestic partnership;
  • ·          Neither person is related to the other by blood or affinity up to and including the fourth-degree of consanguinity;
  • ·         Both persons have chosen to share each other’s lives in a committed relationship of mutual caring;
  • ·         Neither applicant has terminated another domestic partnership within the last 180 days. (This prohibition shall not apply when the previous partnership ended due to the death of the other partner.)[1]

Rights of registered Domestic partners:
  • ·         The right to decide about medical treatment and to visit in the hospital
  • ·         Each domestic partner has the right to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of the other.
  • ·         While in a hospital, a domestic partner has visitation rights equal to those of a spouse.
  • ·         Upon the death of one domestic partner, the other domestic partner has the right to make funeral or other arrangements to dispose of the remains of the deceased.
  • ·         New Jersey state tax benefits
  • ·         A registered domestic partner can claim the other partner as a defendant on his or her New Jersey state tax return. (Note: This is not true for the purposes of federal tax returns.)
  • ·         A registered domestic partner can make a gift or transfer property in life or in a will to the other partner, and the partner receiving the gift or transfer does not have to pay New Jersey state estate or gift taxes.
  • ·         Public employee benefits: Under the DPA, group health insurance coverage for state employees is extended to domestic partners and the children of domestic partners.
  • ·         Domestic partners of state, county, and municipal employees are also entitled to pension and retirement benefits.
  • ·       Inheritance
  • ·         If a domestic partner dies without a will, the domestic partner has the same rights of inheritance that a spouse has under the law[2].

The State of New Jersey recognizes domestic partnerships if both persons jointly file an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with their local registrar. An Affidavit of Domestic Partnership is an affidavit that sets forth each party's name and age, the parties' common mailing address, and a statement that, at the time the affidavit is signed, both parties meet the requirements of the Act and wish to enter a domestic partnership with each other.  The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' Office of Vital Statistics will administer the registration of domestic partnerships.[3]



 If you are looking to establish a Domestic Partnership please contact our office at (201) 880-5563 for a consultation. 


 Ruiz Doolan Law Firm, LLC
27 Warren Street, Ste 101
Hackensack, NJ 07601










[1] https://www.nj.gov/health
[2] Source http://www.lsnjlaw.org
[3] https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/dompartact.shtml

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