I have previously blogged about the recognition of same-sex marriages by New York courts, specifically, Martinez v. County of Monroe, 50 A.D.3d 189 (4th Dept. 2008). The courts have applied Martinez in recognizing the right to benefits, divorce, adoption, and now, inheritance rights. In a recent decision, In re Ranftle, N.Y.L.J., (Feb. 3, 2009), the Surrogate Court in New York County recognized a same-sex marriage entered into in Canada for the purpose of determining decent’s distributees.
The decent H. Kenneth Ranftle, married his same-sex partner, J. Craig Leiby, in Monreal, Canada, on June 7, 2008. He died on November 1, 2008, and was survived by Mr. Leiby and three siblings. Relying on Martinez, the Surrogate Court recognized the marriage as valid and entitled to recognition in the State of New York. Therefore, Mr. Leiby was declared to be the decedent’s surviving spouse and sole distributee under Estates Powers & Trusts Law §4-1.1. Under Estates Powers & Trusts Law §4-1.1, Mr. Ranftle’s siblings will not be entitled to any part of his estate.