There are good reasons why everyone should have an estate plan in place regardless of your relationship status. However, it is absolutely essential for individuals who are in long-term committed relationships who have never married legally.
A case that demonstrates the perils that go along with procrastination played itself out a number of years ago. You may have seen the movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This popular film was adapted from a novel that was written by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson.
This individual earned a great deal of money through his work and unfortunately he passed away at the age of 50 back in 2004. He was not close to his nearest relatives, who were his brother and father. He lived for many years with Eva Gabrielsson.
Larsson was an investigative journalist as well as a novelist and he stepped on some toes along the way. He had received numerous death threats over the years and as a result he took precautions.
If he would have gotten married to his longtime girlfriend they would have been forced to reveal their address under Swedish laws, and this is why they never married.
As it turns out, the court awarded the author’s estate to his brother and father and Gabrielsson was left with nothing.
It doesn’t take much effort to sit down with a good estate planning attorney and draw up the appropriate documents. This case demonstrates what can happen if you do not state your wishes in a legally binding manner as someone who is involved in a long-term domestic partnership.
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