Couples sometimes live together in long-term committed relationships without getting legally married. One very common reason for doing this would be to retain eligibility for a Social Security benefit or a pension.
Estate planning is very important for live-in partners, and if you fail to act negative consequences could come about as a result.
The author of the book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson never married his longtime live-in girlfriend for a rather unusual reason. He was a journalist as well as a novelist and he did some probing into the activities of extremist groups, and as a result he received many death threats.
The Swedish government assisted him in his efforts to keep his whereabouts confidential. However, under laws in the country people who get married must make their addresses available to the general public. For this reason Larsson and his partner Eva Gabrielsson never tied the knot in a legally binding manner.
The writer died in 2004 suddenly at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack. He had not executed a valid last will. In spite of the fact that he was not close to his father and brother the court awarded his estate to these relatives and his longtime partner received nothing.
This gives you an idea of what can happen if you go through life without having an estate plan in place. You are not going to be the one who suffers the consequences if the unexpected was to occur. It will be those that you care about who will be forced to deal with a very difficult situation that could have been easily avoided.