For a number of reasons, more and more couples are choosing to simply cohabitate together than to take the formal step of getting married. Often, these couples assume that their legal/financial status precludes them from needing any kind of estate planning, something that’s doubly true for those couples without children.
This thinking is erroneous, however; committed couples are strongly encouraged to pursue estate planning, even if they have no intention of marrying or of having kids together.
There are a few reasons for this, starting with this one: Through estate planning, unmarried couples can appoint one another to make major medical decisions on each other’s behalf. A healthcare power of attorney should be included in any estate plan. Without this document, one member of the couple will not be allowed to make healthcare decisions for the other, in the event of a hospitalization or incapacitation.
Additionally, proper estate planning ensures that assets such as real estate pass on to the surviving partner, in the event that one partner dies. For example, say the couple occupies a home together, and both members of the couple pay an equal share of the mortgage. If only one name appears on the title of the home, and that person dies, the house wouldn’t directly transfer to the surviving partner; more likely, it would pass to relatives of the deceased party. Proper estate planning, including a will and trust, can rectify this.
There are other reasons to pursue estate planning, too, but the bottom line is this: No matter the marital status, members of a committed couple can take care of one another, putting each other’s interests first, even in death. Estate planning is critical here. To learn more, we invite you to contact the Singh Law Firm team today.