One question that I get asked from time to time is whether estate planning looks different for married couples than it does for unmarried couples. Generally, I say no if the estate is not taxable, but what does look different is when unmarried couples DON'T have an estate plan in place. Married couples or domestic partners have statutory laws in place that protect them as heirs and decision-makers, but unmarried couples don't have these protections in place. For example, if you are unmarried and your partner is in an accident and needs someone to make decisions at the hospital, you won't have any right to do so by law. The hospital would likely try to find your partner's parent or sibling to make those decisions. If there is hostility between you and the decision-maker, well, you may even be banned from the hospital room. This is one reason why estate planning is so important for people who have chosen partnership, but have either chosen not to be married or been denied the right to do so. Of course, finances and children play a factor in these decisions as well, and the rules are different depending on your situation, so it's important to discuss these issues with an estate planning attorney today.