Who can forget the overwhelming joy many in the LGBTQ+ community felt when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision to effectively legalize same-sex marriage across the United States? That said, that decision obviously did not mandate every LGBTQ+ person to enter into a marriage. On the contrary, choosing to remain unmarried is one way to assert your legal rights.
As you probably know, marrying your partner automatically conveys certain legal protections and other benefits. If you decide never to walk down the aisle, though, estate planning may be even more important. Here are a few planning tips for unmarried LGBTQ+ couples:
1. Title property correctly
If either you or your partner legally owns your home, you may be asking for trouble. That is, if one of you dies, the non-owner may have a hard time continuing to occupy the residence. As such, you may decide to title your partner in a way that protects both your interests.
2. Draft a will
You and your partner are likely to acquire personal property during your lifetimes. With a comprehensive will, you outline who gets what. If your family members do not respect your relationship, having a will may be your best strategy for avoiding a protracted legal battle over your belongings.
3. Create a durable power of attorney
You may trust your partner implicitly. Still, if you do not record your wishes, he or she may have little say in your medical care. With a durable power of attorney, should you become incapacitated, your partner makes medical decisions for you. You can also create a power of attorney for financial matters.
Every LGBTQ+ relationship is a bit different. Fortunately, you do not need to marry your partner to have a fulfilling relationship. Still, for unmarried couples, making smart planning choices is essential. With a bit of effort, you can likely protect both yourself and your partner.