Not every family begins with a marriage. Many couples choose to remain unmarried for a variety of personal and legal reasons. Studies have shown that an increasing number of unmarried couples are living together in deeply committed relationships. Estate planning for unmarried couples is far more critical than for married couples.
Under the law, unmarried couples are treated no better than roommates. There is no consideration for the depth commitment, promises to care for one another, and even the presence of children. No rights exist to care for one another and inherit after death. In cases where the sick or deceased’s family disapproves of the relationship, the surviving person can be shut out completely.
Estate planning can ensure your loved one is able to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated and inherit from your estate. Properly completed estate planning will give your loved one the powers they would expect to have if you were married. They will be included in any important medical and financial decision that needs to be made in your absence.
Although the estate tax law favors married couples, there are several other planning and contractual options that could give the same or similar results.
Contact Yeager Law for any questions, comments, or concerns.