Baker v. State, 170 Vt. 194 (1999)

The benefits and protections incident to a marriage license have never been greater and include:

  • The right to receive a portion of the estate of a spouse who dies intestate and protection against disinheritance through elective share provisions
  • Preference in being appointed as the personal representative of a spouse who dies intestate
  • The right to bring a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a spouse
  • The right to bring an action for loss of consortium
  • The right to workers’ compensation survivor benefits
  • The right to spousal benefits statutorily guaranteed to public employees, including health, life, disability, and accident insurance
  • The opportunity to be covered as a spouse under group life insurance policies issued to an employee
  • The opportunity to be covered as a spouse under group life insurance policies issued to an employee
  • The opportunity to be covered as the insured’s spouse under an individual health insurance policy
  • The right to claim an evidentiary privilege for marital communications
  • Homestead rights and protections
  • The presumption of joint ownership of property and the concomitant right of survivorship
  • Hospital visitation and other rights incident to the medical treatment of a family member, and
  • The right to receive, and the obligation to provide, spousal support, maintenance, and property division in the event of separation or divorce


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