Estate Planning Challenges Await Unmarried Couples

Although several states allow same-sex couples to marry, they still face unique planning challenges

Heads up, if you are an unmarried co-habitant (same-sex or opposite-sex)! Regardless whether you share a home, children, and assets you can be no more than well-acquainted strangers in the eyes of the legislature, the broker, and the tax-man.

It’s a very real problem to be faced by an increasing amount of the population, given the rise of same-sex marriage and the decline of marriage (or re-marriage) in heterosexual couples. Indeed, from a federal point of view, same-sex marriage isn’t marriage at all.

I happened upon an article I had missed out of the September issue of Financial Advisor Magazine and I thought it was worth sharing on this topic. It gives a general outline of the sorts of issues that unmarried cohabitants face when it comes to estate planning.

In essence, the problem is that there are very basic laws on the books, laws that have organized our family finances for generations, but unmarried persons don’t benefit from them. In fact, until it is too late, they might not realize the extent to which they won’t benefit from them.

Insurance problems abound, as well. And, when it comes to taking care of each other later in life or after death, it likely will be too late to find ways around the problem. Proper planning is always about charting a path for the future, and without certain legal designations you may be bushwhacking it.

Better to clear the path for the future today.

You can learn more about estate planning and elder law issues on our website. Be sure to sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: Financial Advisor Magazine (September 1, 2011) “Commingled Finances

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