Billings, MT asked in Estate Planning for Montana

Q: .My significant other has no will. What are the consequences for me upon his death?

We reside together in the state of Montana. He has a storage locker filled with valuables. My name is listed on the storage locker paper work.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: You are wise to be concerned about this. Single couples need to do estate planning more than just about any other demographic! The reason is, if a single person passes without a will or trust, his or her estate goes to the next of kin NOT TO THE UNMARRIED PARTNER. Also, if ANY person becomes incapacitated and needs someone else to make medical and financial decisions for him, if he has no financial and medical powers of attorney in place, the court will probably appoint a family member, not the girlfriend. If your SO would rather you inherit he stuff, he MUST at least create a will. If your SO would rather you make medical and financial decisions for him if/when he is unable, he MUST create powers of attorney that say that. And vice versa for you. You BOTH need to create estate plans to protect each other.

By the way, your name being listed on the storage locker paperwork does not vest title to the contents in you when he passes. When he passes, title transfers to his estate, then according to his will or, if no will, then according to the laws of the state (next of kin). If he dies and you take his things from the storage locker, his next of kin can sue you for theft. You don't want that! Do things the right way. Make wills that benefit each other, at the very least.

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