More Than Marriage: Forming Families after Marriage Equality

Univ. of California. May 2023. 232p. ISBN 9780520391666. pap. $29.95. LAW
Culhane (codirector, Family Health Law & Policy Inst., Widener Univ.) advocates for rights to benefits modeled on Colorado’s Designated Beneficiary Agreement, which became law in 2009. This law enables any two unmarried competent adults to designate each other as beneficiaries for such benefits as health care proxy and inheritance, property rights, retirement plans, conservatorships, and federal benefits. The rationale for such agreements is to promote flexibility beyond traditional marriage and reduce reliance on attorneys for planning. Apart from federal benefits, many of the desired rights can be accomplished via estate planning. Each chapter presents couples who struggled to create a legal arrangement that met their needs. The designated beneficiary status, the author argues, solves the problem. It would be the only alternative to marriage. While compelling, it should be noted that in Colorado, once a party to the agreement dies, it terminates, but the surviving person in this agreement can continue to exercise rights and powers.
VERDICT This book about marriage alternatives should appeal to a general audience. Ideal for those interested in domestic law policies.
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