Planning Your Life Legacy as an Unmarried Older Couple

Increasing amounts of older, long-term couples are getting divorced. At first, it might seem like they never want to remarry after 20 to 40 years of marriage. As time goes by though, many older individuals find a special someone and decide to live together, but not marry. It is a trend that is gaining popularity.

“It’s understandable, given our divorce rates, why people may want to retire together without having to be married to do it,” said Betty Liu, co-author of Age Smart. “And, as you get older, the focus may not be so much on marriage, as it’s about companionship and having the right partner with you.”

Older people who decide to live with their partner still need to be mindful of their estate plans and what legacy they want to leave to their companion and any children. Oftentimes, these older couples have significant assets such as a house, 401k plans, retirement plans, and particular health concerns.

“But what can be exciting and romantic for an older couple can be nerve-racking for families that have hopes pinned to an inheritance or simply expectations about how money will be handled by a surviving parent,” Smart Money reported.  

A qualified estate planning attorney will help their client create a cohabitation agreement that is fair to each partner and is enforceable by the courts. A cohabitation agreement in tandem with proper estate planning will outline financial, health, and property decisions. These documents will clearly define who gets the house, monies, and who will make healthcare decisions in the event the individual is incapacitated. A trust, will, and power of attorney documents can also safeguard your partner’s financial livelihood and give authority to a chosen person to make key decisions in the event that you are unable to do so.

“If you plan with your head instead of your heart, the hardest issues can be mitigated or completely avoided, and you two can just enjoy the good life in your golden years,” said Liu. “It’s a great thing to have more options when you retire and not be boxed in to what traditionally is seen as retirement.”

Without these protections, your significant other could be kicked out of the home you are sharing and not have access to any monies. Attorneys are aware of the pitfalls and hear incidents of how the partner could no longer afford the home or got into a big dispute with the partner’s adult children when no plan was in place. It is also critical to analyze assets, life insurance beneficiaries, and make plans for transferring them to minimize estate taxes.

Every couple has its unique dynamics and financial considerations, so no matter your circumstances expert legal counsel will help with all the documents so that your wishes are planned and defined carefully. In Florida, the Brandon estate planning attorneys and Brandon family law attorneys at Osenton Law Offices help couples achieve their goals and have access to the latest resources to ensure a couple’s legacy. Their expertise and top-notch superior client service makes them one of the Tampa Bay’s best law firms.

For more information:
Osenton Law Offices, P.A.
500 Lithia Pinecrest Road
Brandon, Florida 33511
Phone: 813-654-5777
Fax: 866-941-5609

O. Reginald (“Reggie”) Osenton is the Owner and President of Osenton Law Offices, P.A. If you need a Brandon bankruptcy lawyer, Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, or Tampa bankruptcy attorney, call 813.654.5777 or visit

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