Prepare yourself for another topic which is near and dear to my heart: financial planning for unmarried couples. This includes LGBT folks as well as your traditional male-female couples. There are planning issues that you all face, even though you might not be aware of them.
You love your life partner, right? You want them to be OK even if something bad happens to you. But did you know that if you’re not married and you don’t have a will, your property goes to your parents (or nearest living relative) if you die? It doesn’t go to your partner, the one who may be depending on you for financial support.
So here’s an example for you: Jeff and Ethan (not their real names) are partners both in life and in business. Jeff owns a condo but Ethan isn’t on the title and Jeff has no will. Jeff’s parents are not supportive of the relationship. Yes, if Jeff died tomorrow his parents could throw Ethan out on his ear. That isn’t what Jeff wants, and I know that’s not what any of you want.
So what can you do? Getting married will take care of this issue if that’s an option for you…but if you prefer to stay unmarried that’s OK. Just get down to your nearest estate planning attorney and make a will. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and it hardly takes any time at all.
This would be a good time to put other documents in place, like medical and financial powers of attorney. If Jeff is ill or injured and can’t make decisions for himself, his parents will be the ones in control of both his assets and his body. Poor Ethan won’t have any say in his medical, legal or financial affairs.