Planning for Unmarried Couples or Alternative Families

Did you know that with proper planning, many kinds of property rights afforded married couples can be shared by unmarried couples, too? That’s right. Even if your union is unlicensed, you are still entitled to many of the same benefits that legal unions confer.

Whether you are living together before marriage, living together without plans to marry, were married and are now divorced, or are a widow or a widower, your committed relationship is a very real one that deserves the same preferential treatment as others under the law. It is hard to imagine right now, but any relationship can dissolve, and it is just as important for you to address couples’ rights and responsibilities in your relationship as it is for those in licensed unions.

It really doesn’t matter if you are a heterosexual or same-sex couple. You still face multiple obstacles when planning your estate. Unlike a spouse who acquires properties rights and privileges simply because they are a husband or wife, no such rights are acquired automatically by an unmarried partner or a person who is not party to a civil union, no matter how committed you are or how long that relationship lasts.

Among these properties and privileges are social security benefits, ERISA, one’s tax status, emergency medical decision-making powers, child custody and visitation rights, inheritance, tenancy, estate and gift tax matters and more. It’s time to think ahead. We can introduce you to estate planning tools that will protect and determine your rights concerning property, support and other rights upon dissolution of the relationship; and protect, control, and transfer your assets and accumulations with due respect to everyone concerned, including your present partner; children from a current partnership; and children from a former partnership or marriage.