Importance of Estate Planning for Unmarried, Cohabitating Couples

Many people in long-term relationships live with their significant other, but for any number of reasons choose not to get married.  Estate planning is especially important for people in this situation if they expect their significant other to inherit property from them upon their death.

A person who dies without a Will is deemed to have died "intestate" and their property passes to their heirs in proportions prescribed by the Minnesota statutes.  An unmarried partner is not considered an heir under the law.  Put simply, a blood relative of any degree inherits above an unmarried partner when there is no Will or other estate planning in place to direct the distribution of the decedent's property.

Without proper estate planning - and depending on how assets are titled - an unmarried partner could receive nothing and even potentially be forced out of the home the couple may have shared for years.  This can be a very unpleasant surprise for people who have planned their life together, but chose not to get married.

It is highly recommended that people in this situation explore their estate planning options to avoid unwanted consequences when one partner passes away.  It's crucial that people don't assume that their partner will be "taken care of" by other family members or heirs.  Speak to a Minnesota estate planning attorney for more information if you have questions about your circumstances.