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Case Name In re the estate of Thomas Proehl PB-MN-0004
Docket / Court 27-PA-PR-12-260 ( State Court )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On April 27, 2012, Petitioner, a man whose same-sex spouse had died without a will, filed a petition for formal adjudication of intestacy, determination of heirs, and formal appointment of personal representative in the District Court for the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota.
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On April 27, 2012, Petitioner, a man whose same-sex spouse had died without a will, filed a petition for formal adjudication of intestacy, determination of heirs, and formal appointment of personal representative in the District Court for the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota.

Petitioner sought to be recognized as the sole heir of his husband's estate. Petitioner and the deceased had been legally married in another state but moved to Minnesota, which did not recognize their marriage. Under Minnesota law, if the deceased died without a surviving spouse, his assets would go to his next of kin, in this case his parents. Neither the deceased's parents, nor any other party, challenged the petition in this case.

On August 1, 2012, Judge Jay M. Quam issued an order of formal adjudication of intestacy, determination of heirs, and formal appointment of personal representative. In this order, the court could find no provision of the Minnesota Uniform Probate Code that prohibited same-sex partners from being considered a surviving-spouse. This was important because under the Code, a surviving spouse is presumed to inherit the estate of the deceased spouse in the absence of a will. The court also concluded that the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act only denied contractual rights to same sex couples and did not apply to statutory rights, such as probate rights. The court concluded by granting petitioner's petition, recognizing him as the surviving spouse of the decedent for the limited purposes of intestate succession.

Patrick Branson - 03/30/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Estate of Thomas Proehl
Plaintiff Description Man whose same-sex spouse died suddenly, without a will, in a State that does not recognize their legal marriage from another State.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple‚Äôs 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
27-12-260 (State Trial Court) 02/27/2012
PB-MN-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
General Documents
Order of Formal Ajudication 08/01/2012
PB-MN-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: State Court Website
Judges Quam, Jay M. (State Trial Court)
PB-MN-0004-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Potter, David B. (Minnesota)
PB-MN-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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