Producer Advisory: Civil Union Arrangements
Bill Douglas, FLMI, FFSI, AIRC, AAPA, ACS, CCP
Compliance Manager, Individual Annuities
House Bill 6103
July 1, 2011
Civil Union Arrangements
To recognize civil unions on the same basis as marriages between opposite-sex spouses.
The State of Rhode Island enacted House Bill 6103 to recognize civil unions on the same basis as marriage.
- Civil unions (a legal relationship between 2 persons, of the same sex) for which a certificate of civil union has been provided under Rhode Island law will now be recognized in the State of Rhode Island.
- Civil union partners will have the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities as "traditional" spouses under Rhode Island laws, regulations and rules.
- Rhode Island does not have the jurisdiction to control the many federal laws that are intertwined with its laws or any of the associated privileges, immunities, rights, benefits and responsibilities.
- The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provides that for purposes of federal law, the term "marriage" means only opposite sex marriages and "spouse" means only an opposite sex husband or wife.
- To ensure that an annuity is not disqualified under federal law, the rights, privileges and protections specifically afforded to parties of a marriage under federal law and not mandated under state law, are not to be afforded to civil union partners. Examples:
- Providing a civil union party the right to consent to his or her partner's distribution.
- Providing a civil union party the right to consent to his or her partner's designation to a non-spouse beneficiary.
- Providing a civil union party the right to consent to his or her partner's taking out a policy/plan loan.
- Paying benefits to a civil union party under a domestic relations order.
- Allowing a rollover of a deceased owner's account balance of a qualified plan, such as a 403(b), 401(k) or IRA, to an IRA with the surviving civil union party as owner of the IRA.
- Naming a civil union party as beneficiary of a nonqualified plan and allowing him or her to continue as the contract owner upon the death of the owner.
- Rhode Island is not a community property state. In the absence of a court order, there is no requirement to recognize the 50 percent community asset issue in Rhode Island.
- Since spousal consent is not required for any non-spouse beneficiary designation, civil union party consent is not required for a non-civil union party beneficiary designation.
Ouestions And Additional Information
We very much appreciate your business and your help ensuring that the products and operations of The Standard continue to comply with applicable laws, regulations and rules. Our goal is to support and enable your sales goals in such a manner as to mitigate and eliminate any risk of compliance exposure.
Please feel free to contact me at 800.378.4578, ext 7427 if you have any questions or need additional information regarding this Producer Advisory.