Here in South Florida, we have a lot of unmarried senior couples, in “second-time around” relationships, cohabiting with each other. The reasons for not remarrying vary.
Although Florida is not a common law marriage state, bare cohabiting can leave some important things up in the air – or up to a judge. A cohabitation agreement may avoid either outcome and facilitate clarity and control.
The agreement can set out household financial arrangements and expectations in the event of death or breakup.
The agreement, with companion documents, can give a cohabitant medical decision-making authority they would not otherwise have.
The agreement, with companion documents, can give the right to manage business / financial affairs of the cohabitant in the event the cohabitant is unable to do so.
The agreement, with companion documents, can provide for disposition of part or all of an estate to a cohabitant.
Little is automatic for an unmarried couple and extra effort may be required to “take care of” the surviving cohabitant – if that is the intention.
A cohabitation agreement is a starting point toward that goal, but not the ending point.
Although it is not specfic to Florida, more can be read in this ElderLawAnswers’ article – Cohabiting Seniors: Protect Your Rights.