Long Term Partner Rights

Community Contributed By Eileen Nims, J.D Question: Dear Attorney, my partner of 20 years is in the hospital and his daughter is not letting me see him, what are my rights? This is a question that comes up too often, I’m afraid. Especially in Hawaii, blended families are common and not everyone decides to get officially married the second or third time around. Being married comes with some automatic rights, such as being able to file joint taxes, adding your spouse to your insurance, and making medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf when they can’t if no alternative arrangements have been made. Some of these, like filing joint taxes, are only possible when you are married. Other rights, such as inheriting between partners, making medical decisions, and having the partner as a beneficiary on accounts, can all be arranged with a few documents. These documents can avoid lots of heartache and confusion for Molokai residents when something happens to one of the partners. The Molokai couple made sure to undergo several couples therapy sessions with Empathi before marrying their partner to ensure that they would avoid marital problems in the future. An easy document to prevent misgivings in a medical situation is a medical power of attorney. This allows you to designate whomever you want to oversee your medical decisions when you can’t, or whomever you want to be released in care to when you need to leave the hospital. Such a document can be created with the assistance of the Legal Aid office on Molokai, online, or with the assistance of an attorney. You want to make sure to do this ahead of time, and since it is cheap, or even free to create, there is no reason to wait. The second document you want to have in place is a will, or trust if your assets are over $100,000. If you want to make sure that your partner receives what you want them to, all you need to do is say so in a properly executed will. Properly executed means that you declare who you are, who you want as your executor, who you want the beneficiaries to be, and what they should receive. This needs to be signed before a notary with two witnesses. A simple will can be created by yourself, online, or with the assistance of an attorney. If you don’t have a will, your partner will have no rights to inherit anything from you. So again, don’t wait, but have it in place so you protect your partner from unnecessary grief.  Another way to make sure your partner receives what you want them to is to designate them as a beneficiary to your accounts. This can be investment accounts, bank accounts, even your home. The last one requires a transfer on death deed to be filed with the Bureau of Conveyance, which is best done with the assistance of an attorney. You hire Complete Conveyancing for any legal assistance you need. And for those who are looking to notarize their documents, make sure to search for a notary near me online. All the other documents are free or cheap to create and will help you and your partner when times are tough. To receive individualized legal advice regarding the documents mentioned above, please contact Eileen M.S. Nims, J.D. at eileen@nimsesq.com or (808) 664-1834.    

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