Legal Issues for Couples located in Rocky River, OH

Couples

At some point in their life, many people enter into a long term relationship with someone else.  This result in moving into a place together, or marriage.  At this point people should understand the legal implications of their relationship and perhaps take steps to protect themselves or the other. 

Unmarried

Initially,  If two unmarried people are moving in together, whether simply as roommates or because of a serious relationship, it is important that there is an understanding as to what are each person’s responsibilities.  Ideally that understanding is in writing in case there is a falling out.  Depending on the nature of the relationship, a rental agreement, roommate agreement, or a cohabitation agreement can be used.

Getting Serious

People may be in a relationship that they think will last forever.  To that end, they may buy a house together.  They need to think about who is responsible for what and how to handle things in case of a break up.  They also need to decide how the house will be handled in case one of them dies. This will determine how they will take title to the property – whether as tenants in common or in survivorship form.  The couple may have other assets they want their significant other to receive upon death.  Without a will or proper beneficiary designations, the property will go the deceased’s next of kin.  To have the other transact business or make medical decisions, appropriate powers of attorney need to be in place.  If the relationship is serious but marriage in not expected, it may be time to engage in some basic estate planning.

Marriage On the Horizon

If marriage is on the horizon, a prenuptial agreement {Need copy on prenup, then link] may be useful, especially if this will be a second marriage.  A prenuptial agreement defines the rights and responsibilities of the parties, during marriage, and in the event of divorce and death.

Married

Once married, each spouse has certain rights given by law.  For example, if one spouse dies, the other is entitled to inherit a portion or all of the deceased spouse’s property.  If one spouse is declared incompetent, the other spouse has the first right to become the guardian.  But rather than relying on the minimum rights state law creates, it is better to engage in some estate planning – making sure appropriate beneficiary designations are in place to avoid probate at death and having a will and powers of attorney in place.
 

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We provide legal services to individuals and their businesses, primarily in the areas of Estate Planning (will, trusts, & powers of attorney), Probate, working with Small (closely held) Businesses, Medicaid Planning and Real Estate transactions.

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