In California many couples live together without getting married, sometimes for many years. While this is a valid choice and socially acceptable, there are legal consequences when it comes to estate planning.
California does not recognize ‘common law marriage’, where a marriage can be implied after a period of time cohabitating. What this means is that there is no legal relationship between the two people, and that can come as a surprise if one of the partners dies.
If you are an unmarried couple and want to make sure that your assets are shared fairly upon death, it is essential to have an estate plan in place via a will or trust. Otherwise, California law will not allocate any assets to the unmarried partner.
There are other tools besides a will or trust, such as joint bank accounts or joint tenancy for real property, and your estate planning attorney can guide you in how to put those into place now.
Contact Attorney Andrea Shoup at 951-445-4114 to discuss your concerns.