Estate Planning and the Legal Quirks of Retiree Cohabitation

Creating an estate plan for an unmarried couple is already challenging, but when the cohabitating couple are in their golden years, it’s especially tricky.

An older couple laugh and smile as the man kisses the woman on the cheek in their kitchen.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The landscape of relationships has seen a significant shift over the past several decades.

According to a study by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the marriage rate in 1970 was 76.5%, and today, it stands at 31%. These days, an increasing number of couples at all stages of life are choosing the path of cohabitation over the legal binds of marriage, but with that flexibility comes challenges, especially regarding estate planning.

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David Handler, J.D.
Partner in Trusts & Estates, Kirkland & Ellis

David A. Handler is a partner in the Trusts and Estates Practice Group of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He concentrates his practice on trust and estate planning and administration, representing owners of closely held businesses, family offices, principals of private equity and venture capital funds, individuals and families of significant wealth, and establishing and administering private foundations and other charitable organizations.