It is common in the country for unmarried couples to cohabitate. In 2016, there were around 18 million cohabiting unmarried couples in the United States.
As more couples adopt this living arrangement, it raises the issue of whether a partner can be your estate’s beneficiary after you die. The answer might be more complicated because it depends on your estate plan if you have one.
Your partner might not receive anything from your estate unless you set up a plan beforehand. Without proper planning, the court takes over the distribution of your estate, usually leading to lengthy legal procedures. Depending on the circumstances, they could divide your assets among your kids, parents or siblings.
Still, there are ways to secure your partner’s portion of your property by setting up an estate plan while you can. Certain factors might still come into play, but including your partner in your plan can help ensure their involvement.
You could also name your partner as a beneficiary in your insurance policies and other accounts. These assets go to the person listed by their owner, regardless of other factors.
What else can I do for my partner?
Additionally, you could take other measures to ensure your partner’s inclusion in your estate plan. You could set up a trust if it is a reasonable option. If you decide to do so, you should review and consider its accompanying taxes and costs.
You could also share details of your estate plan with immediate family members to help manage their expectations. Clearly stating your intentions might help them understand your wishes.
By taking these measures, you could protect your partner from financial issues and disputes regarding your estate.