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How should you leave assets to an unmarried partner?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Relationships come in many different forms, and not all couples choose marriage. If you are in a committed partnership but are not married, it is important to consider the distribution of your assets should something unexpected happen.

Leaving assets to an unmarried partner requires careful planning to ensure their financial security and well-being.

Understand the importance of planning

Unmarried couples do not benefit from the automatic inheritance rights that married couples receive. However, under the Domestic Partnership Act, there are unique cohabitation privileges granted to opposite-sex couples aged 62 or older. For everyone else, without proper planning, your assets might not automatically go to your partner when you pass away. Taking care of your partners means putting a plan in place.

Create a will

A will is a legal document outlining how you want to distribute your assets after your death. You can specify which assets you want your unmarried partner to inherit. Without a will, your assets are subject to the laws of intestacy, and you no longer have a say in what happens to them.

Name your beneficiaries

With life insurance policies, retirement accounts and bank accounts, you can designate your partner as a beneficiary.  When you die, these assets pass directly to the person named as the beneficiary, regardless of your marital state.

Pursue joint ownership

Consider joint property ownership with your partner. Joint tenancy comes with the rights of survivorship. This means that if one owner passes away, the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner.

Leaving assets to specific beneficiaries requires proactive planning. By doing this, you can ensure your assets go to the person you love even if you are not married.