By Omar and Christie
Are you in your lover’s will? You may not think about this every day or even every year, but this is an important question for women and men alike. A 2011 online survey of 1,001 adults by RocketLawyer.com, an online legal service, revealed that 57% of American adults do not have a will. This statistic includes a shocking 92% of adults under age 35 and 44% of baby boomers (ages 45-64). Who is more likely to have a will – a man or a woman? While women are more likely to have a will than men (53 % versus 39 %), women cite cost as a barrier to having a will and many men don’t think they need a will, period. In fact, according to this survey, one-third said they’d rather do their taxes, get a root canal, or give up sex for a month than lay out their dying wishes in black and white. Despite this fact, making a legal will is very important and should be discussed with your spouse, boyfriend, or lover.
A story that hit close to home is a perfect example of why preparing a will at the appropriate time in a relationship should not be ignored. Friends of ours had been dating for several years and had recently married. The blissful couple had enjoyed about 6 months of marriage when the husband died unexpectedly. Modifying his will was probably on his to-do list, but he never got that opportunity and his new wife was left out of all asset sharing. Life has no guarantees on mortality other than death is certain, so discussing this issue prior to marriage would have saved the widow lots of anxiety and stress. Some couples may discuss updating wills when considering a pre-nuptial agreement, which may be just as important to a stable marriage, but that is another article. It’s never too early to discuss a will, but it can be too late.
While it makes perfect sense for married couples to create a will, what about couples who are in a committed relationship but not married? No magic timeframe exists that should be followed for considering a will for these unmarried couples. Several factors can influence the right time to talk about wills. Are children involved or other dependents, like parents or ex-spouses? Do you live together and have purchases together, like a lake house, boat, or car? Are you financially dependent on each other? Does one person rely on the other for caregiving because of health problems? One or any of these reasons could warrant the need for a serious talk about wills, even though the relationship is not sealed with a marriage contract.
For those committed couples that do not live together there may be unique reasons to be in each other’s will. Some couples are separated by jobs or the need to care for parents or children in their home. Some couples just see each other on the weekends for a variety of reasons that make sense to them. And they are happy that way, even though others might view this as a weird situation. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, in the opinion of some, and a weekend rendezvous is all they need! Whatever the living arrangement, frequency of visits, or degree of togetherness, couples in love should tackle the issue of writing a will that can protect their beneficiaries and each other, married or not married.
Tax season may be a perfect time to talk to your lover about a will. You would hate to discover an existing will that leaves his beautiful, four-bedroom cabin in Boone to his former fling.
And about the Love Lock Bridge – our second clue as to the whereabouts of the Forsyth County Love Lock bridge is that it stands in the city limits of Winston-Salem. Happy hunting!