More couples are living together than ever before. Most, though, aren’t prepared for when tragedy or unexpected issues happen. In this post, Dartmouth, Massachusetts attorney, Andrew Garcia, reveals the 3 life events that most cohabiting couples simply aren’t prepared for and how that lack of preparation can leave each partner financially crippled.
First Life Event: Breaking Up
Judge Judy is famous for cautioning that when you live together “you’re playing house.” Since Massachusetts doesn’t recognize common law marriage, she’s basically right: there’s no rule book for when you break up.
Attorney Andrew Garcia of The Living Together Law Center offers 5 quick do’s and don’ts when it comes to your Massachusetts estate planing.
Don’t name your minor kids as beneficiaries on your insurance policy.
If something happens to you before they turn eighteen then a court is going to have to appoint someone to manage the money for them, and even worse when they do turn eighteen, they have instant access to everything you have left.
An obituary written by a 59 year old Utah man who died of throat cancer has gone viral. Apparently in his obit, Val Patterson, spoke sweetly of a well-lived life and expressed his undying love for his wife who watched and cared for him as his cancer drained him. But, Patterson also used his obit to expose his biting humor and to reveal some little known secrets about himself according to reporter A.J. Willingham of HLNTV.com (see Willingham’s full story here).
July 4th has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I was a history major in college (S.M.U. to be exact – and, I’m talking about THE SMU that we know here in the SouthCoast – Southeastern Mass. University now known as UMass Dartmouth). As a history major, I was always drawn to the struggles of our Founding Fathers in forming this great nation of ours. To this day, I enjoy programs and books about that era and still enjoy learning.
Massachusetts does not recognize the doctrine of “common law” marriage. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve lived together, it could be 7 years or 70 years, you cannot have a marriage under common law in Massachusetts. This is true for both heterosexual couples and same sex couples.
Only a limited number of states in the United States recognize common law marriage – nearby Rhode Island happens to be one of them. Generally, though, in those states that do recognize common law marriage it isn’t the number of years living together that matters, it’s usually the “intent” of the couple. They must intend to be considered to be married, they must act like they are married in the community, and they must live together (the length of time usually doesn’t matter).
Like many couples out there, I’m part of a blended family. You see, my life isn’t just about law. I’m living in a committed, long term relationship with my life partner. She has 2 daughters from a previous marriage and I have a daughter. So, we live as a blended family.
Now, despite the interesting title to this blog, her children DO NOT drive me crazy. Promise. I just found it to be a catchy title for this blog and an appropriate way to introduce the topics to be discussed in it.
Living in a blended family is one of the reasons that I’m so interested in focusing on estate planning for couples in second marriages and blended families because I know first hand some of the issues, and stresses, that they face everyday. But, let’s take a break from my regular blogging about legal topics and consider some of those challenges.