We love each other, we live together, but we’re not married. What happens if one of us dies without a will?

Two reasons why it’s a good idea to have a will, even if you’re not married

 

You’re in love. It doesn’t matter if you have a piece of paper to prove it, right? 

 

Yes, however, that sentiment wouldn’t hold up in court, especially when your other half is up against family members in the event of your death.

 

We realize social norms around marriage and cohabitation between couples—especially for same-sex—have changed in the 21st century. Fewer people are choosing to get married, and divorce rates are on the rise. This data doesn’t change the fact that couples are still choosing to blend their lives together, running businesses, sharing assets, and having children together—married or not. 

 

We agree, love is love, but not in the eyes of the law, and we want you to be prepared to face the implications you or your partner may meet if one of you dies. 

 

Two reasons why it’s a good idea to have a will, even if you’re not married.

 

  • What happens to your assets and property?

If neither of you has a will, none of the inheritance you leave is guaranteed to go to your partner if one of you dies. Naming your partner as a beneficiary and Financial Power of Attorney (POA) is crucial in your will and estate plan. Although it’s not a guarantee, it’s more likely to state your desires to probate court. When it comes to property, protect your partner with a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship. Your estate planning attorney can help you prepare these documents.

 

  • Who will make decisions for you if you get too ill or hurt to make them yourself? 

In the event of incapacitation due to illness or injury, one of your family members will likely be called upon by the court to make decisions on your behalf, not your partner. In most cases, if someone is not family, for example, your long-term partner, they won’t have any say in what happens to your medical care or end-of-life decisions. Your partner could have more say in your medical care and decisions by specifically naming them in your Medical Power of Attorney and executor in your will.

 

Ultimately, there’s no better way to protect your partner than with an estate plan, a will, and, in some cases, a trust. With these documents properly prepared by a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, you can rest easy knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of after you die. If left unprotected legally, your partner virtually has no rights to any part of the life you worked to build together.

 

We understand that many couples choose to remain unmarried, but let us help you protect each other if one of you dies or becomes incapacitated.
 
Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs