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Children of Civil Union Couples in New Jersey

Inheritance Tax in New Jersey

Following the death of a New Jersey resident, an inheritance tax return must be filed. Taxes are established at graduated rates on property with a total value of $500 or more which passes from a decedent to a beneficiary. The exception to this tax is any property given to a surviving spouse, parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren or grandchildren. Many people leave their property to spouses, children and grandchildren and therefore are not required to file an inheritance tax.  The question which has been raised in recent years though is: how does the Court determine whether someone is a parent/child in the case of civil unions?

Child of One Partner is Child of Both

In 2005 the New Jersey Supreme Court decided a case in which they held for the first time that the non-biological parent of a New York registered domestic partnership recognized in New Jersey, was “presumed to be the biological parent of child conceived by the other partner through artificial insemination where the non-biological partner has “show[n] indicia of commitment to be a spouse and to be a parent to the child.” In the Matter of the Parentage of the Child of Kimberly Robinson, 383 N.J. Super. 165; 890 A.2d 1036 (Ch. Div. 2005). While the case involved a New York domestic partnership, in New Jersey a domestic partnership must be changed to a civil union in order to qualify for the protections of the Civil Union Act.

The New Jersey Civil Union Act of 2006 also states that if either partner becomes the parent of a child during the marriage/civil union, the child shall be considered the child of both partners.

Getting Legal Help

Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman also helped many couples understand the best strategies for preserving assets, saving taxes and taking care of loved ones and she can help you create a plan for individual family’s needs. Call us today at 973-841-5111.


Posted in: Estate Planning