Many same-sex and unmarried partners are surprised to find that, for the most part, an estate plan for them is not much different than for a married couple. However, for unmarried partners an estate plan solves those issues that a married couple does not need to worry about. For instance, for an unmarried couple, unless registered as domestic partners, there are no statutory intestate succession rules that provide for the living partner. That means that if one partner dies with property owned solely by him or her, the living partner does not have the same legal right to an interest in that property like a living husband or wife would have of their deceased spouse. For that reason, estate planning is crucial for unmarried partners if they want to ensure that their living counterpart has a claim on the couple’s assets.
A Will and Trust package including a financial power of attorney and health care directive and medical power of attorney can be drafted so that the couple can enjoy the same security as a married couple with regards to pre- and post-death asset ownership, property management and health care decision-making.