Living together without the official stamp of marriage often raises legal and financial issues if tragedy strikes or if the time comes to go your separate ways. There may be disputes or unintended consequences relating to assets, debts, taxes and other aspects of your shared life.
The attorneys of Cushing & Dolan, P.C., can help draft a cohabitation agreement and estate planning documents to declare your wishes and protect your interests. We counsel unmarried clients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, with emphasis on estate planning and tax considerations. Arrange a consultation today.
Estate Planning for Couples Living Together
What happens if you or your partner dies or becomes incapacitated? Without a written power of attorney or health care proxy, you may have no legal standing in financial or medical affairs. Without a will specifically naming your partner, your portion of the estate may pass to unintended heirs.
Cohabitation and Property Division
Massachusetts does not recognize "common law marriage," regardless of how many years you live together. Without a marriage certificate, equitable distribution of property under Massachusetts matrimonial law does not apply. It can be devastating to find out you have no claim to assets, or equally alarming to learn you are on the hook for a mortgage and other debts.
Cushing & Dolan can advise you of your rights, whether you are living under a cohabitation agreement/domestic partnership or simply moved in together with no formal arrangements. We represent anyone cohabitating outside of marriage, including senior citizens and same-sex partners.
Our lawyers will walk you through all the pertinent issues to plan ahead or find out where you stand:
- What separate property did each of you bring to the relationship?
- Who is responsible for the mortgage or rent?
- What is your liability for loans, credit cards, bills and taxes?
- Who gets the house, or how will proceeds be shared if it's sold?
- Are you supporting the partner financially, or vice versa?
- Does a partner have any claim on your retirement savings?
- What are the tax implications of breaking up?
A formal cohabitation agreement, at the outset or after you have moved in together, is the best way to protect yourself. It can address everything from distribution of property to sharing of expenses and debts. In the absence of such a contract, we can represent you in negotiations or in court to achieve a fair and practical resolution.
Property Agreements and Estate Planning
For Unmarried Partners in Boston
Contact Cushing & Dolan at 617-523-1555 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.