There are intestacy rules of succession in place that would hold sway if you were to pass away without having executed any estate planning documents. Most people are going to have more specific designs so it is not a good idea to rely on the probate court to distribute your assets in accordance with intestacy laws.
However, if you are married your spouse would be provided for under these laws. But if you are in a committed live-in relationship with someone without being married this individual would not be recognized. For this reason estate planning is absolutely integral for people who are engaged in unmarried domestic partnerships.
We are stating the above because the United States Census Bureau has compiled statistics that show a senior lifestyle trend developing. More and more people who are in their 60s are deciding to live together without actually getting legally married.
Some refrain from getting married to remain eligible for pension benefits. Social Security survivor’s benefits can be a factor as well for some older Americans, but once you are 60 you could still retain the benefits after getting remarried.
Because of the fact that Medicare will not pay for a long-term stay in an assisted living facility many people rely on Medicaid to pick up the tab. You must stay within upper resource limits to qualify for the program, and getting married could impact your eligibility status.
And of course, some people don’t get married because they simply want to retain full legal possession of their assets for any number of reasons.
Regardless of why you choose to eschew marriage if you want to make sure that your partner is provided for you must state your wishes in writing with the assistance of a good local South Carolina estate planning lawyer.