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Estates and Trusts

Nancy J. Knauer

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Lgbt Elder Law: Toward Equity In Aging, Nancy J. Knauer Dec 2008

Lgbt Elder Law: Toward Equity In Aging, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

At a time when LGBT individuals enjoy an unprecedented degree of social acceptance and legal protection, many LGBT elders face the daily challenges of aging isolated from family, detached from the larger LGBT community, and ignored by mainstream aging initiatives. The corrosive legacy of the pre-Stonewall views of homosexuality makes many LGBT elders reluctant to declare themselves and demand equal treatment from policy makers and health care providers. As a result, they are denied the basic dignity of being able to share their memories of a life well lived without fear of rejection and reprisal. The concerns of LGBT elders …


Same-Sex Marriage And Federalism, Nancy J. Knauer Jan 2008

Same-Sex Marriage And Federalism, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

The increasing willingness of states to recognize same-sex relationships illustrates the central theme of this Symposium: federalism provides states the freedom to experiment with novel solutions to pressing social issues. The development of progressive policies seems to bear out Justice Brandeis' optimistic vision of federalism where "a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." With respect to same-sex relationships, however, state level reform efforts have not been uniformly progressive. To the contrary, the vast majority of these efforts prohibit the …


September 11 Relief Efforts And Surviving Same-Sex Partners: Reflections On Relationships In The Absence Of Legal Recognition, Nancy J. Knauer Jan 2005

September 11 Relief Efforts And Surviving Same-Sex Partners: Reflections On Relationships In The Absence Of Legal Recognition, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

The criteria established by federal, state, and private relief efforts to assist the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks present a unique opportunity to examine the status of same-sex relationships in the United States. In the absence of uniform relationship recognition, surviving same-sex partners continue to struggle with a loss that legally is not cognizable. The stories from the September 11 survivors illustrate that a surviving partner is a legal stranger, who often must reconfigure her relationship with her partner to fit within the various legal categories where relief or compensation might be forthcoming. These legal categories …


Defining Capacity: The Competing Interests Of Autonomy And Need, Nancy J. Knauer Jan 2003

Defining Capacity: The Competing Interests Of Autonomy And Need, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

This Essay addresses the question of capacity - the basic threshold determination that pervades all areas of the law. An individual must have the requisite level of capacity to consent to sex, refuse medical treatment, enter into a contract, marry, divorce, relinquish parental rights, execute a will, make a gift, donate organs, vote, serve on a jury, stand trial, and even to hire a lawyer. The standards regulating determinations of capacity are not monolithic. An individual may lack the capacity to contract, but may have the requisite capacity to write a will or to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. As individuals, …


September 11 Attacks And Surviving Same-Sex Partners: Defining Family Through Tragedy, Nancy J. Knauer Dec 2001

September 11 Attacks And Surviving Same-Sex Partners: Defining Family Through Tragedy, Nancy J. Knauer

Nancy J. Knauer

The September 11 relief efforts present a unique prism through which to view the status of same-sex relationships and to consider which families count when the United States is supposedly at its most generous, most united, and most injured. On a basic human level, would the nation grieve for Peggy Neff, who lost her partner of 18 years when Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, as it had for the widow of a fire fighter? Would Neff be eligible to file a claim with the multi-billion dollar federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, which Congress established to compensate victims and …