Prefer Living Together To Marriage? How To Protect Yourself And Your Partner
People often automatically assume couples who have been together for a while will eventually get married. However, some are reluctant to wed for personal or practical reasons. It is important to be aware of how this can impact you and the person you live with. Our Tampa estate planning attorney explains important steps you can take to ensure both of you are protected.
How Not Being Married Can Impact Your Rights
Many couples today would rather live together than get married. According to a recent Psychology Today report, some of the most common reasons include:
- They do not believe in the principle of marriage and are reluctant to make a lifetime commitment to any one person;
- They are skeptical due to seeing their own parent’s marriage fail or as a result of their own bad experiences or that of their friends;
- They have practical reasons, such as receiving certain types of benefits or financial assistance that they would lose if they got married;
- They would rather avoid the high costs of planning a wedding and all the fuss that often goes along with it;
- They prefer not to give in to societal pressure and feel as if a marriage license has no actual impact on their relationship or their commitment to their partner.
Regardless of your reasons, it is important to be aware of how not being married can impact your legal rights. Basically, you and your partner are not considered equal owners of any property and assets you accrue during the relationship. Without a marriage license, you are generally not entitled to healthcare or other benefits the other receives, have no say in making healthcare or other major decisions, and are not automatically entitled to inherit from each other’s estate.
Estate Planning For Non-Married Couples
It is your right to opt to live with your partner rather than get married. However, it is important to take action to protect your legal rights and theirs. Options available include:
- Applying to the Hillsborough County Domestic Partner Registry: Provided you are not married or in a domestic partnership with anyone else, this can allow you the right to make medical decisions on your partner’s behalf, visit them in the hospital, in jail, or other institutions, and obtain certain other benefits.
- Designating them as beneficiaries in your will: This gives them the right to inherit designated property and assets in the event of your death.
- Making them your power of attorney: This authorizes them to make certain business and financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated.
- Naming them as your health care power of attorney: This allows them to make medical decisions and convey your wishes to providers in the event you are unable to yourself.
Discuss Your Options With Our Tampa Estate Planning Attorney
If you are in a committed relationship but prefer not to marry, Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., can advise you on ways to legally protect yourself and your partner. To discuss your options, call or contact our Tampa estate planning attorney online today.