Marriage isn’t in the cards for you and your partner. While the increase of people that are in the same boat as you is meteoric, it could still mean you’ve got some important unfinished business that needs your attention.

The number of cohabitating adults over the age of 50 has risen 75% over the last decade. While people may be getting more comfortable with leaving marriage at the wayside, you may not want to get comfortable with leaving your estate to the whims of Ohio. Passing without an estate plan could mean your partner won’t be seeing any of your assets.

Binding agreements

Dying intestate means that you haven’t left behind a valid will the state can use as a guideline for handling your assets. While the courts will still likely appoint an administrator to preside over your estate, they may be bound to state law dictating where your property has to head.

If you did marry your partner, it would be likely that they’d get the lion’s share of your assets after you leave. But without a marriage certificate, the state will probably be looking to other members of your family. Your children, parents and siblings could all be in line while your partner may be left looking on from the sidelines.

Excepting the rules

There are some conditions where the property may pass to them, but you’ll generally have to establish them long before the probate process. Putting your partner’s name in the right places can result in them getting a portion of the proceeds when you’re gone. You could keep them from being left out in the cold with bank accounts that share your names, annuities that name them as the beneficiary and real estate that has their name on the deed.

Understanding what happens in the probate process can make sure you don’t leave anyone wanting, especially your partner. Using a legal will could be the best way to ensure that you’re providing for your partner after you pass.