If you are in a Domestic Partnership, it’s time to consider your estate planning. What is a Domestic Partnership? It is a legal or interpersonal relationship between two people who share a residency and a common domestic life but are not married or joined in a civil union?
What is a Domestic Partnership?
Common Law Marriage no longer exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky so many unmarried couples choose to live in a Domestic Partnership. There are not any provisions under the statutes of Kentucky that will automatically provide for your partner in the event of your death without proper estate planning. However, many couples who are in Domestic Partnerships have not taken the time to establish an estate plan. Due to the lack of provisions under the statutes, not only does this not offer anything to your partner should one of you die, meaning the surviving partner will be forced to move out of the residences that they once shared with the deceased, but it can also hold up possessions and assets in probate keeping them from being distributed as there might be disagreements over who such assets and possessions belonged to. Fortunately, when you work with a knowledgeable attorney, this can be ameliorated. There are several approaches to planning your estate when it comes to real estate that can benefit those in Domestic Partnerships.
If you are in a Domestic Partnership and want to own real estate together, Joint Tenancy might be a suitable option for you. In Joint Tenancy, the shared property will be automatically given to the other partner in the event of death. This keeps the estate from going into probate and is easy for an attorney to draft up. However, there is a drawback– the first partner to pass away does not have the ability to distribute their earned interest in the real estate to their heirs as their interest in the property will cease as soon as they die.
Tenancy In Common
This allows both partners to own property, but it will not be automatically passed to the surviving one immediately after their death. With this form of estate planning, each partner can sell, or bequeath, their portion of the property to whomever they choose. In case of death, the partner’s share may be passed through a living trust or will.
Last Will And Testament
When you have a properly executed your Last Will and Testament, you can provide for your domestic partnership. It does require the Will to be probated and supervised by the Probate Court. Delays will occur as they are mandated by the statutes in Kentucky before assets and possessions can be distributed to heirs or beneficiaries.
A Living Trust allows you to avoid probate in the event of a death. It can also offer the best control over your assets, and you can rest assured knowing your partner is taken care of when you are no longer here. There are other parts of Estate Planning that might assist you in your domestic partnership, so to find the best one for you and your partner, we advise reaching out to an attorney who has the necessary knowledge needed to work through this process. Get these issues taken care of now so that you can be sure your partner is taken care of when you are no longer able to do so.
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About Grubbs & Landry
At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.