Partners can be anyone. An aging parent and adult child; a senior and the next door neighbor; lifelong best friends; the cranky hermit and considerate caregiver; Unmarried couples (gay or straight), any traditional or unlikely alliance can be covered. You can easily install estate planning to provide the necessary legal protections for passing on property and other assets, making medical decisions for each other, and planning for the future of any children that may be involved.
Companions can be Anyone
Friendship, caring, and "significant other" can be defined in so many ways; not necessarily romantic or intimate. Without planning, the government, courts, attorneys, and unwanted relatives will create tremendous expense, confusion, and perhaps resolve the estate with destructive consequences.
If you want to be able to make medical decisions for each other; especially in case of a traumatic injury or other emergency; you need to give your partner a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This will allow your partner to have full access to your medical records, your physicians, your prescriptions, medical appointments, medical history, insurance, and will empower them to be able to make medical decisions for you if you cannot.
If you want to be able to make financial decisions for each other, another Durable Power of Attorney can be put in place that grants those rights to each partner, for each bank account or investment in your estate.
Companions and caregivers and friends of any type must have protective documents in place "In Advance" of problems or health crisis. If one of you dies without a will, your assets will not automatically go to the other, regardless of verbal agreements and witnesses. So designating your Life partner as your heir via a will or trust is imperative if your wishes are that he or she inherit your estate.
If your company’s employee benefits plan, or the servicer of your other retirement accounts does not allow you to name an unmarried partner as beneficiary, you may be able to create a trust to receive those assets upon your death, and make your partner a beneficiary of that trust.