Keep Your Family’s Future Secure

Unmarried same-sex couples need to anticipate unfortunate events

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2021 | Estate Planning

Because of marriage equality, you and your same-sex partner have the freedom to choose whether or not you want to get married. For whatever reason, you may decide that marriage is not right for you as a couple. 

Neither choice is inherently better or worse than the other, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you do not marry, you voluntarily waive the rights that married couples enjoy. Fortunately, there are other estate planning avenues by which you can protect your rights and those of your partner without having to get married if you do not feel it is right for you. 

Power of attorney

If you want your partner to have decision-making power over your health care or finances if you become incapacitated, you may want to consider naming him or her to act as a power of attorney. This gives your partner authority backed up by the courts, which is therefore more difficult for family members or others to challenge. 

Domestic partnership agreement

Unfortunately, death is not the only circumstance that may end your relationship with your partner. Even marriage does not guarantee that a relationship will endure, and research suggests that unmarried partners are more likely to split up at some point than married couples, whether of the same or different sex. A domestic partnership agreement functions similarly to a premarital agreement. It outlines what happens to the property that each of you owns, together or separately, in the event that you eventually split up. 

If you do split up someday after naming your partner to act as a power of attorney, you may want to revise that document after your break-up. Unless the split was extremely amicable, you probably want someone other than your ex to make decisions for you if you cannot.