Domestic Partners Beware
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of unmarried couples ages 50 and over rose 75% between 2007 and 2016. Many of these couples choose to keep their finances separate because they already experienced one difficult divorce and are nervous to entangle themselves and their possessions again.
But living together presents complex estate planning issues because laws are written to favor married couples.
For example, if one partner has a medical emergency, the other partner cannot make any decisions or even communicate with physicians unless there is a health care power of attorney and HIPPA release. That’s because unmarried partners are considered “legal strangers.”
Death of one partner can also create many issues. Without the proper legal documents, the surviving partner is not entitled to even make burial or cremation arrangements for the deceased partner.
Also, without a Will or Trust in place, the deceased partner’s assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state and an unmarried partner is not recognized as an heir.
Do not delay seeking legal advice if you are an unmarried couple. The consequences could be devastating.
Call the Law Offices of Debra G. Simms at 386.256.4882 to learn more.
This blog post is not case-specific and is provided only for educational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.