Is an attorney required for a cohabitation agreement?

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Is an attorney required for a cohabitation agreement?

If property agreement and cohabitation agreement forms are completed properly,
can they simply be notarized to become legal and effective? There is a notary
through my employer that will do this at no charge. This is strictly just in case
something were to happen since we are not married. The property has not yet been
purchased, we just agreed that it is wise to look into this before doing so.

Asked on April 16, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is never a legal obligation or requirement for individual persons to form, draft, or enter into an agreement: an agreement entered into between you and your partner, if properly executed, will be legally binding. 
Note that you may wish to also consider some ancillary agreements that may be applicable: e.g. a power of attorney in favor of each other, and/or a medical care directive (often called a "living will") giving the other some amount of discretion or authority if one of you is disabled. Your relationship may not be yet be a stage where you wish to cede the other such authority as these agreements would give, but if you are or are becoming essentially as close as a married couple, then you may wish to create agreements that will give each of you some of the rights and authority that a married couple gets by dint of being married. For example: say that paying the mortgage on the property requires contributions from both of you, but one of you becomes incapacitated in an accident; without a POA, the other could not access the disabled partner's bank account to make payment, or if necessary, refinance or sell the home, without the approval and help of whomever does have a POA or is appointed legal guardian.


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