One expedient was adoption. It provided a degree of estate planning insulated from greedy, mean-spirited relatives.
Now, marriage has replaced the need for such workarounds.
But the law, in its majestic even handedness, can't let couples forced into non-marriage alternatives enjoy what is legally their right:
Bob Casey, Pennsylvania's Democratic senior senator, wants to right a wrong that's affecting numerous same-sex couples — the inability to obtain annulments for couples in which one partner adopted the other before the days of marriage equality.
This was a common practice in the mid-20th century, as adoption offered legal protections for same-sex partners when it came to matters like hospital visiting privileges and inheritance laws. But now with marriage equality, some couples in this situation are finding it difficult to annul their adoptions so they can legally wed.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Casey writes of a couple in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County who were denied their adoption annulment request in July. The judge stated that adoption annulments can only be granted in cases of fraud and reversing them in other instances would place all adoptions in jeopardy. Because of the ruling, the couple cannot marry, since they would be guilty of incest and could face 10 years in prison. The situation is not exclusive to the Allegheny County couple.