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Topic: Great PRACTICAL Help for Unmarried Couples to protect their rights

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Subject: Great PRACTICAL Help for Unmarried Couples to protect their rights
Date Posted: 4/5/2008 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2004
Posts: 19
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I was reading about the Florida thing in the forums (Gay couple - partner forbidden even basic information as to accident/status of his long term love...it didn't make my local Florida news, boo hiss!)...and I replied to it with some info about a book I found helpful - and just thought that it might be important enough and there might be a few people who would be interested in it as well.  So, I'm also posting it as its own topic.

I just want to say that this is really not just a LGBTQ issue.  My best friend and I have lived together for several years and have been friends for over 23 years.  Boyfriends may or may not live with us and they come and go. 

But, without forethought - if she were hurt, I would have the same problem in finding out what happened, or in making medical decisions for her.  We each have a folder that the other is to open with basic instructions if anything happens or we are (hopefully temporarily) incapacitated.  What bills are due, etc.  We've made one another beneficiaries and/or joint owners on some financial accounts so that access to funds would not be a problem.  Also, a medical power of attorney form is available from many attorneys at low cost and specifies what you want done (DNR form or whether you do want them to use extraordinary means to keep you alive).  It also allows you to pick a person (or persons) to make medical decisions for you if you're unable to do so...and you select a person to administer your estate in case of death.  Usually you pick 2 to 3 people, so that if one isn't available...

Finally, I wanted to recommend a book that we found helpful...until the laws ARE changed, you can only do the best you can to work within the existing (inadequate) system: First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: How Unmarried Couples can use Investments, Tax Planning, Insurance, & Wills to Gain Financial Protection Denied by Law, by Larry M. Elkin, CPA.  ISBN: 0385471726

Unfortunately this is an older book (1994), but I think it will help you get started thinking in the right direction.  He also wrote a book called Financial Self Defense for Unmarried Couples (1995), but I haven't read it.  Both titles are available on Amazon.  If anyone has a newer title to suggest by some other author, I'd love to hear it.

Just to give you an idea - this is from the back cover:

CPA and Certified Financial Planner Larry Elkin shows you how to protect yourself and those you love from laws that discriminate brutally against unmarried couples. Learn how to: ensure that you or your partner will win custody of your children in case of death, divorce, or lawsuit; make sure that upon your death your money goes to designated heirs - not automatically to blood relatives; insist your wishes are followed when you suffer a medical emergency, because the law does not acknowledge a lover's opinion as it does that of a spouse; protect yourself from losing money you have invested with your partner in the event of a breakup; save thousands of dollars by determining whether getting married would be a bonus or a penalty at tax time; find out which states have laws that are friendly to unmarried domestic partners.

Date Posted: 4/5/2008 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2005
Posts: 152
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True, Lenore.  I'm hearing of more and more single straight friends doing this for each other.  Thanks for the posting.

Date Posted: 4/7/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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Here is a site that offers state-specific blank forms for POA-Healthcare and Living Wills:

CaringInfo.org

Date Posted: 4/7/2008 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 7,581
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Also, I highly recommend www.rainbowlaw.com