If You Are Unmarried, but in a Committed Relationship

Many couples, both opposite-sex and same-sex, are in committed, long-term relationships, but choose (for a variety of reasons) to remain unmarried. In addition, it is not at all uncommon these days for couples who are planning to marry to have a lengthy engagement period. It is very important to understand that no matter how long a non-marital relationship has lasted, and no matter how close and devoted the partners have been to each other, neither partner has any automatic legal rights to the assets of the other. Furthermore, if one partner becomes disabled and requires someone to oversee his or her personal well-being, assets, or medical care, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the non-disabled partner would automatically be appointed to serve in these roles.

If you are in a committed but non-marital relationship (whether opposite-sex or same-sex), and you want your partner to be able to participate in decisions about your personal, financial and medical well-being if you ever become disabled, it is critical to have an estate plan in place. Likewise, if you want to provide financially in any amount for your partner after your death, it is also critical to have an estate plan. Without an estate plan, if something happens to you, your partner might very quickly lose the life that the two of you built together.

A good estate planner can work with you to determine the level of support that you want to provide for your partner, and the best ways to ensure that your wishes regarding your partner are carried out.