Legal Benefits of Tying the Knot

UntitledYou may think that marriage is mostly about twitterpation, true love, and white dresses, but starting a new life together is more than just the affection you feel for each other—it’s actually doing life together too! That means not only living together, but doing EVERYTHING together—from auto insurance to getting a family plan on your cell phone. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the legal benefits of tying the knot… not like you needed another incentive to say “I do” anyway.


  • File joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities

Estate Planning

  • Inherit a share of your spouse’s estate
  • Estate tax and gift tax exemptions for all property you give or leave to your spouse
    • Create life estate trusts restricted to married couples
      • QTIP trusts
      • QDOT trusts
    • Priority in the necessity of conservator for spouse (person to make financial and/or medical decisions for them)

Government Benefits

  • Receive Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses
  • Receive veterans’ and military benefits for spouses
    • Education
    • Medical care
    • Special loans
  • Receive public assistance benefit

Employment Benefits

  • Obtain insurance benefits through spouse’s employer
  • Take family leave to care for spouse during illness
  • Receive wages, workers’ compensation, and retirement plan benefits for deceased spouse
  • Take bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

Medical Benefits

  • Visit your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit/during restricted visiting hours in a medical facility
  • Make medical decisions for your spouse if s/he become incapacitated and unable to express wishes

Family Benefits

  • File for stepparent or joint adoption
  • Apply for joint foster care rights
  • Receive equitable division of property if you divorce
  • Receive spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce


  • Live in neighborhoods zoned “families only”
  • Automatically renew leases signed by spouse

 Consumer Benefits

  • Receive family rates for health, homeowners’, and auto insurance; other types of family benefits (e.g. family plans for cell phone lines)
  • Receive tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities

 Other Legal Benefits

  • Claim marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and yoyur spouse during your marriage.
  • Receive crime victims’ recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime
  • Obtain immigration and residency benefits for a noncitizen spouse
  • Visiting rights in jails and places where spouses are restricted to immediate family



—Miray Weeks, Editor, Stance

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