Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and affection. Many individuals show their love and affection by purchasing flowers, candy, or even a slab of beef pounded into the shape of a heart. While these gifts may serve their purposes of conveying love in an immediate sense, they are quickly ingested, discarded, or otherwise forgotten.
What about using your money to obtain a gift whose value will only increase? What about taking a trip to see the lawyer and plan your estate? While not romantic, it is practical and often times absolutely necessary for individuals who are in a supportive relationship but are not married.
Florida does not recognize common-law marriages or marriages built only on habit and repute. Even if an unmarried couple live together for 30 years and consider themselves to be husband and wife, no automatic property rights exist. In short, the surviving member of the relationship has no right to the property of the other including any right to continue residing in a home they do not own. In addition, there is no right to access the other’s health documents, oversee their medical care, or pay their bills if they are unable.
Not planning for these events and scenarios can leave a surviving partner powerless and without property. It can also cause them to be removed from your home if you become incapacitated and unable to express your wishes directly.
The solution is simple and is easy to bring about. By creating a Will and other associated documents such as a health care surrogate and power of attorney, you can provide your significant other with the rights and powers Florida would otherwise withhold. Make sure your wishes are known and make sure they are enforceable.
Besides, there is no rule that says you can’t enjoy the flower, candy and heart-shaped beef after taking care of your estate.