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Till Death or Divorce: Why You Need to Plan Now for Your Relationship’s End

After the excitement of Valentine's Day fades away and the last indulgence of chocolate is savored, it's crucial to turn our attention to a topic that may not be as thrilling as the idea of everlasting love: the reality that all relationships come to an end one day. Before you stop reading, hear me out.

Whether it’s a breakup, divorce, or the death of a loved one after a lifetime together, every relationship eventually will come to an end. The most important thing is how you have planned for that ending, or whether you haven’t at all, as your planning (or lack of it) will have a real impact on you, your partner, your children, and your assets. 

The silver lining? While we can't prevent the end, we can prepare for it with a blend of compassion and strategic planning that makes the end the best possible foundation for a new beginning.

Understanding the Intersection of Love and Law

Love is wonderful—joyful moments, shared dreams for the future, and yes, some legal considerations too. For married couples, the law has default provisions in place for what happens to your assets if one of you dies, but those default plans may not align with your personal preferences or the life you’ve built with your partner.

If you’re an unmarried couple, the absence of a plan could leave you vulnerable, risking the loss of assets or the inability to make crucial decisions about your property or your medical choices.

To better understand how a lack of planning can leave you and your partner out in the rain, let’s look closer at these important areas that are affected when a relationship ends.

1 | Property Ownership 

Let's say you and your partner purchase a home and other assets together. Without clear documentation outlining ownership rights, a dispute can arise if the relationship ends in a breakup. But breakups aren’t the only danger. 

If you aren’t married and one of you passes away, the other partner might find themselves without a rightful claim to the property, potentially facing homelessness or a significant financial loss. 

If you own any property with anyone else or if you want to ensure your property lands in the hands you choose in the event of your death, contact us to plan for that property now.

2 | Healthcare Decisions

In the unfortunate event of a medical emergency where one partner becomes incapacitated, lacking appropriate legal documentation could impede the other partner's ability to make critical healthcare decisions on their behalf. This can lead to delays in medical treatment or disagreements among family members over the person’s treatment, causing unnecessary stress and complications during an already challenging time.

3 | Guardianship for Children

For couples with children, failing to establish guardianship arrangements in the event of both parent's incapacity or death can have devastating consequences. Without a designated guardian, children may be placed in the care of individuals who may not align with your wishes or values, leading to potential custody battles and emotional upheaval for the children and your extended family.

If you and your partner end your relationship without coming to a mutual agreement on a guardian for your children, things could get even more chaotic - especially if one of you has documented your desired guardian and the other partner hasn’t.

Worst of all, typical wills don’t cover planning for the needs of minor children sufficiently. It’s why we offer the Kids Protection Plan, specifically designed to ensure your children are never raised by anyone other than people you know, love and trust, and are never taken from your home, into the care of strangers. 

4 | Business Interests

If you and your partner share business interests or investments, the lack of a solid plan could jeopardize the future of these assets. Without clear instructions, the surviving partner may face challenges in managing or transferring ownership of these assets, potentially leading to financial instability or the dissolution of the business.

Be Proactive, No Matter What the Future Holds

In each of the scenarios above, the absence of proactive estate planning measures leaves individuals vulnerable to legal and financial uncertainties. By taking proactive steps that consider what will happen when your relationship ends, couples can safeguard their assets, ensure their wishes are honored, and provide peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones.

Not sure how to start the conversation with your partner?

Start by explaining to your partner your desire to safeguard the life you’re building together.  Just as relationships evolve over time, your wishes and how they are documented should too. Continuously engaging in dialogue and revisiting your plans ensures they remain aligned with your evolving needs and aspirations.

Contact Entrusted Legacy Law at 412-347-1731 or click here to schedule a complimentary 15-Minute call.


This article is a service of Sharek Law Office, LLC. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Life and Legacy Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge. Please note this is educational content only and is not intended to act as legal advice.

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