Planning For Unmarried Couples
There are some additional considerations when planning for unmarried couples. While there are plenty of people who consider themselves happily unmarried, the laws of inheritance might not be so friendly yo these couples Here’s why…
Someone who is legally married almost always inherits something from their late spouse. While it is possible for someone to disinherit their spouse, most surviving spouses do inherit from their late partner. When a married couple has no children or all of their children are common to the marriage, the surviving spouse inherits all of the deceased spouse’s assets when there is no will.
When someone loses their unmarried partner, they would only get property from their late partner if the deceased partner left them property in a will, through joint-ownership, or through beneficiary designations. So, in the case of an unmarried couple with children, who owned a home that was titled in just one of their names, the children would be the owners of the home after the death of one of the parents. While it makes sense, children under age 18 aren’t permitted to own real property. There will have to be an estate administration in probate court to transfer the decedent’s interest in the home to the surviving parent.
This isn’t where the story ends. Since there are minor beneficiaries of an estate, a probate administration is not enough to get authority to sell real estate. Any time there is a minor beneficiary of an estate, and there is no will, there is an additional lawsuit required in probate court to sell real estate. As you can imagine, there are a lot of additional expenses with this additional lawsuit as well. The court needs to make sure that the sale is in the best interest of the children.
Needless to say, any couple, married or unmarried, every couple should have a proper estate plan to care for their children.