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Financial and Legal Planning for Unmarried Couples

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While the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. making it possible for people of all sexual orientations to marry, many modern couples (of all genders and sexual orientations) still choose against marriage.

If you are wondering whether to legally get married, be sure to consider these important factors:

If you are partnered and unmarried, you need financial and legal protections in place, to ensure you and your loved ones are taken care of if you become incapacitated or when you die.

While legally married partners need many of the same financial and legal protections in place, the law does provide some defaults that will provide protection and access to a “legal” spouse that is not given to an unmarried partner.

Imagine this: your partner is hospitalized and you can’t get access because you aren’t married. Or your partner needs a family member to make important legal or financial decisions, but it can’t be you because you aren’t considered a relative without marriage. If you decide you don’t want to get married, contact me to get the legal documentation you’ll need to validate and protect your rights.

For legally married partners there are default legal provisions providing for a spouse in the event that their spouse dies without a Will in place. While these legal provisions are generally not sufficient or do not match what you would want, at least there is something in place for your spouse. As an unmarried partner though, you would have no legal right to anything belonging to your significant other.

Imagine this: you and your partner live together, but your partner is on the lease or the owner of the home and your partner becomes incapacitated or dies. You could lose your housing while also grieving your partner’s illness or death. Legal documentation can fix this.

When you are considering marriage, remember that legal spouses can file taxes jointly, whereas unmarried couples cannot. And there can be some serious tax savings and benefits that could make marriage quite attractive. Conversely, getting married could negatively impact your tax situation.

Here’s the bottom line: if you are committed to your partner, and want your partner to make legal and financial decisions for you and to have access to some or all of your assets in the event of your incapacity or at the time of your death, whether you get married or not, you need legal and financial planning that ensures your partner has easy access to everything you choose.

Whether you choose to get married in the eyes of the state, legally, or just in front of your friends, family and community, contact me as you decide what to do so I can support you to plan well. That’s what I do for you and your family.

If you’re ready to ensure your loved ones have the legal benefits and financial protections they deserve, consider meeting with us. We can help you with your legal planning needs. Our Family Wealth Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, you'll complete a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment that will get you more financially organized than you’ve ever been before.

This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That is why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you have ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a planning session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

Disclaimer: All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney trained to work with families on estate planning matters regarding your specific situation. Use of and access to this website or any of the email links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, and any users or any other party.


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