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4 legal upsides to getting married

You're trying to decide if you and your significant other should take the next step in your relationship and get married. While you may start out simply thinking of the emotional side of the relationship, it may be worth considering the practical, legal side, as well.

With that in mind, consider the following legal and financial benefits to marriage.

1. You could benefit from a pension plan.

Not only do you have access to the pension after your spouse retires, but you may still be paid if he or she passes away -- as long as the plan has survivor's benefits. If you're not married, you can't use them.

2. It's easier to see your significant other if there's a medical emergency.

If your spouse is injured in a car accident, for example, the hospital may only allow family members to visit. If you're not married, you could be denied access, no matter how long you've been dating.

3. There are also advantages when making medical decisions.

In some cases, if your spouse can't make medical decisions on his or her own, the judge may put you in charge. If you aren't married, the judge may choose a parent or sibling instead.

4. You may get assets if your spouse doesn't have a will.

Many assets pass directly to a spouse, but they won't pass automatically to a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

These are not all of the legal realities to consider when thinking about marriage, but they help to show you just how important this decision is and all of the various legal rights and options you need to consider.

Source: Forbes, "11 Things You Never Thought Of When You Decided Not To Get Married," Kate Ashford, accessed June 01, 2017

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