Trusts and Estates
Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly 2017, Volume 23, Issue 1
- MCLE Article: Conservatorship Accountings II: Market and Carry Values, Inventory and Appraisal, Bonds, and Using the Judicial Council Accounting Schedule Forms
- Tips of the Trade: Qualifying For the Parent-child Exclusion By Selling Trust Property To a Beneficiary Pursuant To a Right of First Refusal
- The Planning, Administration, and Litigation of the "Hems" Standard
- Luke, I Am Your Adoptive Father: Adult Adoptions and Inheritance - Contracting With Your "Parents"
- Avoiding the Knot: Estate and Tax Planning For Unmarried Couples
AVOIDING THE KNOT: ESTATE AND TAX PLANNING FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES
By Nicole M. Pearl, Esq.*, and Elham Ardestani, Esq.*
Many couples today choose not to marry. Some want to avoid triggering the property rights and support obligations inherent in a marital relationship. Some have been through a painful or expensive divorce and are not eager to remarry. Others may want to preserve their social security benefits or maintain inheritance rights for children from a prior marriage. Still others may have a philosophical objection to marriage. Whatever the reason, couples should know the consequences ? some good, some bad ? of avoiding the knot.
I. FORGONE BENEFITS
By forgoing a marital relationship, couples give up all of the rights and benefits that are afforded to married couples under federal and state law. Married couples can take medical leave to care for one another without risking the loss of a job.1 Both spouses can continue health insurance coverage under COBRA if one spouse loses a job.2 Spouses can also petition for a non-citizen spouse to immigrate in a more timely and favorable manner with a higher chance of the non-citizen spouse ultimately being granted U.S. citizenship.3 These benefits are not afforded to unmarried couples.