There are a lot of misconceptions about who needs a will—the most common one being that they’re only for those who are middle-aged or older. But another misconception is that only married couples need to worry about having a will. While it’s true that married individuals should put together a will after they’ve been married, it’s actually far more important for committed, long-term couples who are not married to have a will than for couples who are married to have one. Why is this so important? Keep reading to find out.
You Don’t Have the Same Default Privileges
When a couple is married, both partners receive certain privileges. These include, but aren’t limited to:
· Ability to share health insurance
· Automatic succession and inheritance rights
· Certain tax benefits
· Rights to make decisions on behalf of the other partner in an emergency
· Retirement and Social Security account benefits
While some states may afford these rights to couples in a common-law marriage, many don’t. In a world where couples are waiting longer to get married, this makes it even more important to take steps to protect your rights as a couple. Writing up a will can do just that and provide you and your partner with many of the same privileges that are afforded to married couples.
Naming Your Heir
As mentioned above, automatic succession and inheritance rights are one of the many privileges that are given to a couple from the moment they are married. This means that if one of them were to pass away, and they didn’t have a will specifying otherwise, their partner would automatically inherit their assets. Unmarried couples, however, don’t have this privilege.
If you were to pass away without a will, your assets would be given to your closest living blood relative, regardless of how long you and your partner have been together or how estranged that relative may be. By writing up a will, you can name your partner as your heir so that they can receive your assets if something were to happen to you.
Providing for Nonbiological Children
If you or your partner have children from a previous relationship, those children have no legal ties to the nonparent partner in the relationship. It doesn’t matter if your partner’s children think of you as their parent or if you’ve been a part of their lives for years; legally speaking, they aren’t considered your children. Of course, you could speak to an attorney about legally adopting or getting guardianship for those children, but that’s another matter altogether.
If you simply want to be able to provide for those children in the event of your passing, then you need to have a will that names them as inheritors. This is especially important if both you and your partner pass. As mentioned previously, without a will, your assets will go to your next of kin. If your partner didn’t have many assets to their name, their children—the children that you love and help to provide for—could be left with next to nothing.
There are many other aspects of having a will that are beneficial for unmarried couples, including giving power of attorney to your partner and so much more. To learn more about why you and your partner need a will, contact Glasgow, Isham & Glasgow, P.C. We’re your experts in wills and probate in Granbury, TX.