05 Oct Estate Planning Considerations for Domestic Partners
Planning for unmarried domestic partners is in many ways similar to the planning done for married couples. However, Ohio does not have the same protections for domestic partners as they do for married couples. Therefore, it is up to the domestic partner to seek out legal advice and put those protections into place. Without effective legal planning, the desire of unmarried domestic partners to take care of each other both during life and at death can be frustrated.
For domestic partners, whether they’re a same sex couple or a man and woman who choose not to marry, estate planning is crucial. An estate plan outlines directives regarding financial concerns, asset ownership and distribution, and health care decisions while one is incapacitated or at death. Domestic partners need the same pertinent documents as married couples, including wills, revocable living trusts, durable powers of attorney, living wills and durable health-care powers of attorney. Unlike married couples, without these documents, a domestic partner has no legal rights.
Domestic partners don’t have the same legal safety net to fall back on that married couples do. If nothing is in place, Ohio’s law of descent and distribution allows assets to flow to the surviving spouse. That’s not at all true for domestic partners. They can’t count on their assets being distributed to their partner.
Estate planning gives domestic partners control over decisions regarding their assets, finances, child custody and health care. Some tools also protect privacy by avoiding lengthy court proceedings and help to fend off family challenges to personal decisions.
For additional information on these estate planning principles, please click on the following links:
Power of Attorney and Estate Tax
Health Care Power of Attorney and Funeral Decisions
This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not to be construed as legal advice.