Annapolis Same Sex Unmarried Couples Probate Attorney
While same sex marriage is legal in Maryland as of 2013, and througout the country after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, unmarried same sex couples, just like different sex couples, do not automatically inherit the other’s property or assets upon their death. Same sex unmarried couples are only privy to inheritance if they are named in a will or trust. Additionally, Maryland does not recognize common law—living together with a partner for a specified period of time—when it comes to giving marital rights. As such, if you are not married, you or your spouse will not automatically inherit the family home or other property that a married individual, same sex or not, would. Contact our experienced Annapolis unmarried couples probate attorneys at Frame & Frame for a free consultation today.
Your First Step it to Create a Last Will and Testament
Unmarried individuals, whether they are same sex or different sex, must create a will if they wish for their partner to inherit any of their assets when they pass away. Otherwise, the decedent’s family members will be first in line to inherit the home, car, clothing and other personal property, bank accounts, 401(k), stocks, and other assets that are in the decedent’s name. Even if you have been living with your partner for a decade or more, distant family members will take precedence over you when it comes to inheritance. You can avoid this by creating a simple will, which names your partner as the sole beneficiary if you so choose.
What is Power of Attorney?
While same sex marriage has been on the rise after Obergefell v. Hodges, and domestic partnership has been on the decline, according to Gallup, many same sex couples are choosing to remain unmarried. This presents difficulties when one spouse becomes ill or incapacitated by an illness, old age due to dementia, or injury. Power of attorney is one method to help protect a partner during the event of incapacitation—not being able to make one’s own decisions. A durable power of attorney for property allows the other partner to make financial decisions on behalf of the other, while a durable medical power of attorney gives the other partner medical decision making rights in the event of incapacitation.
Probate is a timely and expensive process of proving a will, and something that married couples generally do not have to worry about when one spouse passes away. You can avoid probate by
- Holding title to assets as joint owners with right of survivorship;
- Creating a trust naming your same sex partner as the trustee, instead of leaving assets in a will;
- Creating pay-on-death instructions for accounts; and
- Designating a beneficiary on a life insurance policy.
Our Same Sex Unmarried Couples Attorneys Can Help You Plan for the Future
Here at Frame & Frame, our Annapolis attorneys are experienced in creating wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, and other essential estate planning tools for married and unmarried same sex couples, and we can help you plan for the future regardless of your current situation. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 410-255-0373.