A recent story from New York shows why unmarried couples need to have good estate planning. The story below, from the October 25, 2016 issue of The Advocate, shows the problems that an individual is having after his partner’s death. Although gay marriage is now legal, which can help alleviate some of these problems, there are still numerous people, regardless of orientation, who live as partners without being legally married. Individuals in that situation need to make sure they have good estate plans in place, to protect their partners after death.
“Tom Doyle lived with his partner, Bill Cornwell, in a three-story West Village brownstone for 55 years. Over their six decades together, the couple watched the neighborhood transform into a safe haven for New York City’s artists and gay population to one of the most expensive locales in the city.
Doyle, however, could find himself homeless. Cornwell died in 2014, and his family is contesting his will, a legal battle that could force Doyle out of the home the men shared.
Cornwell, who passed away at the age of 88, left Doyle everything in his will. There was, though, just one problem: The document was only signed by one person — Doyle’s niece, Sheila McNichols. Without a second signature on the will, it’s legally invalid. That means that claims on the home go to his next of kin.”