If you are in a gay, lesbian or unmarried opposite-sex relationship, your finances are filled with challenges and opportunities. Many family financial planning strategies are based on laws and rules created for legally married couples, therefore unique steps must be taken to protect the financial interests of domestic partners and couples who choose to have a life together but not be married.
Strategic Financial Planning is ready to navigate your life plan that not only creates peace of mind for a long-lasting relationship but can also help ease or head-off any difficult periods in your relationship. We are experienced in financial planning for domestic and unmarried partners.
Why plan now?
For opposite-sex unmarried couples, cohabitation creates a unity full of important financial decisions that need to take place together to maintain the unity. Not having a plan can leave one partner unprotected financially if something happens to the other partner. Clear documented plans can prevent financial disputes and provide protection to each partner that is not available through the laws that benefit legally married couples. And more importantly, a plan can bring even more harmony to a relationship. The number of court battles between former partners has increased in the past five years as living together grows. Even though unmarried, cohabitating couples can find themselves with the same issues as a married couple if a separation occurs. In fact, 1 in 4 partners living together experience a breakup, according to university researchers who studied cohabitation. And of those, many found “larger declines in life satisfaction” after a breakup.
For gay and lesbian couples, the laws create roadblocks that legally married couples don’t have to leap over or that provide a disadvantage in financial planning. Gays and lesbians unaware of the financial rules, or the lack of rules, can find themselves facing penalties or in dire straits when one partner falls on hard times, becomes ill, dies or a separation occurs.
Issues to address for all unmarried and domestic partners include:
- Wealth Transfer to ensure each partner is provided for in life and at partner’s death in a tax-efficient manner
- Estate Planning to protect and pass on assets to a partner and give legal authorities to each partner
- Property Ownership techniques to manage property efficiently
- Income Tax Planning to make tax-efficient decisions and reduce taxes when possible
- Partner Agreements to spell out promises to each other and how to handle financial decisions
- Insurance Planning to help partners manage risks, liabilities and meet income needs
- Retirement Planning to create a plan for building and maintaining wealth throughout retirement
- Investment Planning to develop a diversified portfolio according to the goals of each partner
Contact SFP today to discuss your situation and how we can help navigate a life together.