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New Jersey Employment Lawyers > Blog > Estate Planning > Four Estate Planning Tips for Long-Term Cohabitating Couples in New Jersey and New York

Four Estate Planning Tips for Long-Term Cohabitating Couples in New Jersey and New York


It has become far more common for people to live together as part of a romantic relationship without actually getting married. According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, the number of long-term cohabitating romantic couples has more than doubled in the past three decades. For cohabitating couples, there are some specialized estate planning considerations. Here, our New Jersey and New York estate planning attorney highlights four tips for long-term cohabitating couples in New Jersey.

Tip #1: Know that New Jersey Law Provides Very Limited Automatic Protection 

What happens if you do not set up an estate plan in New Jersey? The short answer is that state law will control your estate. Upon your passing, your property would be transferred to your intestate heir(s). A spouse is a primary heir in New Jersey. However, in contrast, a long-term romantic partner who is a cohabitant has limited rights. Unlike married partners, cohabitants do not automatically inherit assets if one partner passes away without a will.

 Tip #2: Long-Term Cohabitants Should Have a Valid Will 

Given the lack of automatic protection, a proactive approach to estate planning is a must. Every person who is in a long-term cohabiting couple should draft a valid will. A will dictates how you wish to distribute your assets upon your death—ensuring your partner can inherit specific assets. A well-crafted will provides peace of mind and financial security to both partners.

 Tip #3: Cohabitants May Also Want to Consider a Power of Attorney (POA) 

Incapacity planning is an important part of estate planning. A Power of Attorney (POA) is an essential tool for cohabiting couples. The legal document allows one partner to make important financial or health-related decisions on the other’s behalf in case of incapacitation. By establishing a POA, couples ensure that decision-making remains within the relationship—reflecting mutual trust and understanding.

Tip #4: An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Provide Guidance and Support 

Every adult should have a comprehensive estate plan in place. Proactive estate planning is especially important for long-term, unmarried romantic partners. Navigating estate planning can be complex. You do not have to figure out everything alone. An experienced estate planning lawyer can provide the guidance and support that you can rely on. Among other things, your New Jersey estate planning attorney will help tailor an estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals. An estate plan will typically include a will, powers of attorney (POA), and beneficiary designations. It may also include other documents, such as trusts and living wills.

 Get Help From Our New Jersey and New York Estate Planning Attorney Today

At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, our New Jersey and New York estate planning lawyer is a diligent, experienced advocate for clients. We are focused on finding solutions. If you have any questions about developing an estate plan as a long-term, unmarried couple, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a confidential consultation.



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