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The legal benefits of tying the knot

Some people decide not to get married, even in a serious relationship, opting to just date for years. They may not want the hassle of planning a wedding or they may have been married before, feeling unwilling to do it all again.

While situations are different for everyone, it is important to remember that there are some legal benefits to deciding to tie the knot. These include:

1. Transferring assets without being taxed. When you're giving assets to your spouse, the amount you can move without incurring taxes is unlimited.

2. Getting your spouse's benefits. For example, if your spouse has an IRA or a pension plan, you may be able to collect. Additionally, if your spouse qualifies for social security and you don't, you may get those benefits through your spouse.

3. Health insurance. Many joint health insurance plans -- such as employee benefits -- will let a spouse join, but not a boyfriend or girlfriend. This could get you better rates and better coverage than if you had to buy it yourself.

4. Rights in the hospital. If your spouse ends up in the hospital, only next-of-kin may be allowed to visit -- meaning you could struggle to get in if you're not married. Additionally, you may be able to help with medical decisions and make legal choices for your spouse.

These are just four examples, but you can see that there are certainly upsides to being married that go far beyond the romantic, emotional reasons that most people cite when asked why they got married. Be sure that you consider all of them when making decisions about your own situation.

Source: The Knot, "13 Legal Benefits of Marriage," Ivy Jacobson, accessed March 15, 2017

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