Estate planning can often prove complicated, but when it comes to unmarried partners, it can be extremely confusing. Luckily, with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney who has experience working with unmarried couples, you can be sure to protect yourself and your partner.
In 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to marry in every state. Before this, estate planning for same-sex couples was often more complex. But now that all states recognize same-sex marriage, these couples are entitled to receive the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. However, the struggle to protect unmarried couples remains – regardless of sexual orientation.
The Importance of Estate Planning for Your Loved Ones
It can undoubtedly be difficult to think about getting older and eventually passing away. For this reason, many people avoid estate planning altogether. However, estate planning is a very important part of planning for the future and for your loved ones. Unfortunately, when unmarried couples pass away without an estate plan, their partners often receive little to no assets of theirs.
Without a Will, Trust, or applicable estate planning document, individuals in domestic partnerships not only run the risk of receiving none of their estate but of also being denied access to their partner’s medical records or the ability to make medical decisions on their behalf.
Passing Away without an Estate Plan (Intestate)
When someone passes away without a will (intestate), their property will go to specific kin in a particular order. But those who are not married will not have their property automatically pass to their partner. What’s more, partners often have much more difficulty with proving that they have the “standing” to argue the case in probate court.
Put simply, regardless of whether you’re in a same-sex or opposite-sex relationship, if you’re not married it’s all the more important to establish at least a basic estate plan to ensure that your partner receives the assets you’d like for them to have. Additionally, you’ll want to appoint someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated or unable to do so. Having your wishes in writing is an important piece in ensuring that they are carried out properly.
Palumbo Law Helps Those in Rhode Island with Their Estate Plans
At Palumbo Law, our knowledgeable Rhode Island Estate Planning attorneys understand Rhode Island estate planning laws and will work strategically to help our clients uphold and protect their rights. If you are in need of a comprehensive estate plan or any associated documents, we can help. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!