Yes. The default in state law, called “intestacy,” is designed with married couples in mind. If a married couple dies without any estate plan, the survivor will get a good portion of the assets left behind. However, if you are unmarried, unless you are in a state that legally recognizes domestic partnerships or civil unions and you have registered as such, the survivor would get nothing. Instead, the family of origin of the unmarried partner who died would get anything in that partner’s name, including bank accounts, real estate, etc.
About Brittany Martin
Elizabeth Mitchell is a partner in the law firm of Ambler Keenan Mitchell Johnson. Beth devotes her practice to estate planning, Medicaid planning, elder law, special needs planning, and probate and trust administration. She is board certified as a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)* through the National Elder Law Foundation, and she is a Veterans Administration accredited attorney. She is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Denver Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association, where she is a member of the Elder Law Section.