1. Execute a written agreement that says what belongs to whom.
This can be a simple list of what you each bring into the house, apartment or relationship. Include everything from dishes to investment accounts to debts.
2. Execute a written agreement that says who pays for what.
Not only does this make things go more smoothly but it allows for each of you to plan your financial obligations. Will you divide expenses or will you take turns paying for things? Negotiate and figure this out ahead of time to save arguments and hurt feelings later.
3. Execute a written agreement about what happens if you separate, break up or go your separate ways.
If you've done the first two things on the list, this is pretty simple. Everyone takes their toys and goes home. But if you have commingled everything, then without this agreement you may have a mess on your hands.
4. Make a list delegating household responsibilities to each partner or party residing in your household.
Job jar or to-do list: it's up to you!
5. If you are in a loving relationship, then execute your wills, directives to physician, durable powers of attorney for health care and managing your assets, with your lover as your beneficiary and your representative.
6. Update your HIPA documents with your doctors and health care providers to include your partner or lover.
7. If you have children together, then make sure you have guardian language included in your wills and other life-planning documents.
Keep your family and close friends informed about your life decisions as you age and your relationship seasons. If your friends are your family, make sure they are part of your circle as your life progresses. Create that support group that can be there for you and for your partner and your children all life long.