While the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. making it possible for people of all sexual orientations to marry, many modern couples (of all genders and sexual orientation) still choose against marriage.
If you are in the inquiry around whether to legally get married, be sure to consider these important factors:
If you are partnered and unmarried, you need need financial and legal protections in place, to ensure you and your loved ones are taken care of if you become incapacitated or when you die.
While legally married partners need many of the same financial and legal protections in place, the law does provide some defaults that will provide protection and access to a “legal” spouse that are not given to an unmarried partner.
Imagine this: your partner is hospitalized and you can’t get access because you aren’t married. Or your partner needs a family member to make important legal or financial decisions, but it can’t be you because you aren’t considered a relative without marriage. If you decide you don’t want to get married, do call us to get you the legal documentation you’ll need to validate and protect your rights.
For legally married partners there are default legal provisions providing for a spouse in the event that their spouse dies without a Will in place. While these legal provisions are generally not sufficient or do not match what you would want, at least there is something in place for your spouse. As an unmarried partner though, you would have no legal right to anything belonging to your significant other.
Imagine this: you and your partner live together, but your partner is on the lease or the owner of the home and your partner becomes incapacitated or dies. You could lose your housing while also grieving your partner’s illness or death. Legal documentation can fix this.
When you are considering marriage, remember that legal spouses can file taxes jointly, whereas unmarried couples cannot. And there can be some serious tax savings and benefits that could make marriage quite attractive. Conversely, getting married could negatively impact your tax situation.
Here’s the bottom line: if you are committed to your partner, and want your partner to make legal and financial decisions for you and to have access to some or all of your assets in the event of your incapacity or at the time of your death, whether you get married or not, you need legal and financial planning that ensures your partner has easy access to everything you choose.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about your estate plan, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.