If my domestic partner passed away without a Will and he was a dentist, who has access to his office and patient documentation?

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If my domestic partner passed away without a Will and he was a dentist, who has access to his office and patient documentation?

Asked on June 21, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  When you pass away with out a WIll it is called dying "intestate" and the intestacy statute in New York will apply to your partner's estate. Some one needs to be appointed as the Fiduciary. The statute also infers who has rights to administer the estate, and that would include what to do with his office and patient information. Unfortunately in New York the intestacy statute does not include for a "domestic partner" to have rights of inheritance and the like.  Even under the Marriage Equality Act there is some question and case law differs in the Surrogate Courts throughout the state with some favoring a domestic partner and some not.  Please consult with an attorney in your area as to your situation.  Good luck.


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