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PLANNING FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES
Unmarried couples who own property together are in for a nasty surprise on the death of one of the individuals, especially if that individual did not create a Will during his/her lifetime and/or had created a Will but never updated it when he/she became involved with the individual. If one party of the couple created a Will during his/her lifetime and then such unmarried couple decided to purchase homestead real property together, then the deceased individual's portion of the homestead would go to the individuals named in the deceased individual's Will. Not to the individual's partner. If one party of the couple never created a Will during his/her lifetime, then the portion of the property owned by the deceased individual would pass according to the laws of intestacy. The laws of intestacy are convoluted and depend on the type of property passing through probate and the familial situation of the deceased individual. In either instance, neither disposition would be beneficial to the surviving half of the couple as such surviving half would then have to be in partnership with the beneficiaries of the estate of the deceased individual in regards to ownership of the homestead real property. This would not be a good result as it would effectively tie the hands of the surviving individual in regards to the disposition of the asset which had been jointly owned by the parties. A worse scenario would occur if one party of the couple owned the homestead real property and never created a Will and/or had an old Will. On the death of such individual the surviving party of the couple would more than likely find him/herself out in the cold due to the fact he/she would be evicted from his/her home. Please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation to obtain a solution to this conundrum.