Many Americans, including those in New York, are deciding to cohabitate rather than getting married. Reasons for cohabitation include the need to share expenses or the lack of desire to get married — or remarried. However, just as married couples benefit from putting together estate plans, cohabitating couples can also benefit from developing wills.
In an estate plan, a non-married couple can decide to appoint each other to make important medical decisions for them. This is possible through a document known as a health care power of attorney, which is one of the most essential documents in an estate plan. Without this document, an individual who is not married will legally not be able to make health care decisions involving his or her partner if the partner is hospitalized.
In addition, with a non-married couple, estate planning may be helpful for ensuring that real estate property goes to the surviving non-married partner. For instance, perhaps both parties purchased a house but the house is titled in just one partner’s name. If the actual homeowner dies with no will, the house will not end up transferring to the surviving party. Rather, it would go to the deceased partner’s relatives.
Putting together wills may understandably seem like a morbid task, which is why many couples — married and unmarried — avoid it. However, death can strike at any time, so it only makes sense to engage in estate planning. An attorney in New York can help with creating wills that accurately reflect a couple’s unique wishes and needs.
Source: wilmingtonbiz.com, “The Importance Of Estate Planning For Unmarried Couples by Kara Gansmann“, Kara Gansmann, Aug. 1, 2017