Just a Piece of Paper
In California, when someone dies, there is a line of kinship to determine who has the right to make the arrangements.
It usually goes something like this:
Agent holding an Advance Health Care Directive/ Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Spouse/ Registered Domestic Partner
Children (over the age of 18)
.....you get the idea.
Over the years, I’ve found myself having the same conversations over and over again with people about kinship.
I get it. Some people have really weird family dynamics. I feel for those people. That being said, if you don’t take the proper steps to protect your partnership, the state of California doesn’t care about your weird family dynamic.
“But we’ve been together for over 20 years!”
It doesn’t matter.
“He didn’t even talk to his parents!”
It. Does. Not. Matter.
“I have control of all of his bank accounts!”
IT DOES NOT MATTER.
So yes, you’re right, a marriage certificate is only a piece of paper....
...but it’s a really important one.
If nothing else, get an Advance Health Care Directive. Here’s a link to a free one.