A world of legal problems can be avoided if you put your living together agreement in writing. A written contract identifying who owns what is the only way to protect yourself and honor your collective intentions — whether you want to keep all your property separate or share some or all of it. You may face serious and potentially expensive battles if you separate and can’t agree on how to divide what you have acquired.
Putting your contract in writing does not need to be a dreaded or time-consuming. Approach the task in the spirit of clarifying your understanding and preserving the shared memory of two fair-minded people.
Often, one or both partners is reluctant to sign a contract because they believe it demonstrates a lack of trust in the other partner’s word. On the contrary, it’s a healthy dose of realism, recognizing that over long periods of time, recollections fade and feelings change. A written contract alleviates you of the worry that your original intentions won’t be later forgotten.
Without a written contract, it is near impossible to enforce a claim of an oral contract in court. If your partner isn’t willing to sign an agreement, don’t rely on the oral promise.
It is best to seek a lawyer’s help before signing any agreement that involves a lot of money or property — or complicated estate planning. Contact Michigan estate planning attorney Marc Wander, today.
Marc H. Wander is a partner of the Bloomfield Hills law firm of Witzke, Berry, Carter &Wander, PLLC. Marc has been licensed to practice law in Michigan since 1992. Marc’s practice is devoted to estate planning and business succession planning. Marc is a member of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan and is a prior Chairperson of the Oakland County Bar Association Tax Committee. He is a frequent continuing education speaker to insurance agents, financial advisors, CPA’s and financial industry organizations. He has also been heard on WJR Radio. Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcWander