According to the Pew Research Center, the number of U.S. adults living with a partner continues to rise. While half of the approximately 18 million cohabitants are younger than age 35, almost one in four was age 50 or older. With the number of older Americans living together increasing 75% over 10 years, it’s important to consider the financial implications if you are in this group.
Put It In Writing
Having updated wills and other legal documents is crucial to cohabitants, who don’t always have the same legal protections as married couples. This becomes especially important if one or both partners are divorced. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure you have the safeguards necessary to ensure your wishes are carried out in life and afterwards.
Another way to ensure financial assets pass as you intend is to keep retirement plan and life insurance beneficiary designations up to date. If you want these assets to pass to your partner, say so in writing.
Understand Local Laws
Not all states recognize common-law marriage, which grants certain rights to an unmarried partner when the other dies. Living together may also affect alimony. Again, consult an attorney to learn how local laws apply to your situation.