Surrogate Glen

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IN THIS probate proceeding, the court was called upon to determine the identity of decedent’s distributees entitled to receive process under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act §1403(1)(a). Decedent married his same-sex partner, J. Craig Leiby, in Montreal, Canada in June 2008, but passed away in November 2008. He was survived by his husband and three siblings. The court stated that marriages valid where solemnized were recognized in New York, with several exceptions, including marriages that were affirmatively prohibited by New York law or proscribed by “natural law.” The court ruled that as decedent’s marriage was valid under the laws of Canada and fell into neither of the exceptions, the marriage was entitled to recognition in New York. Therefore, the court concluded that Leiby was decedent’s surviving spouse and sole distributee pursuant to Estates Powers and Trusts Law §4-1.1. Accordingly, citations in this probate proceeding need not issue under SCPA §1403(1)(a) or any other provision to any other person as distributee.