I had a friend crap out on Saturday at 2:00 AM... sat up in bed complaining of feeling "weird", then keeled over and was dead before he hit the floor (according to the Docs) of a massive brain aneurysim.
This isn't so much about him, but the effect this has on his Significant Other, a lady he'd been living with for five years.
She'd sold her house and moved in with him last year, and while they weren't planning on an imminent marriage, he was trying to persuade his (20-odd-year) estranged wife to give him a divorce so they could marry. As you may imagine, most of the stuff (house, car, phone, internet) was in his name, although they had separate bank accounts and separate brokerage accounts.
The Wife showed up at the hospital and completely shouldered the S.O. out of the way and, when the papers had all been issued, cornered the S.O. IN THE GRIEVING ROOM, and asked how soon she intended getting her stuff out of "MY" house.
NOT a pretty situation. S.O. is devastated and just about comatose. Several of her friends showed up on Sunday and packed her and moved her things into a friends (unused) apartment and are mounting a "watch" on her. She's tough and will recover, but what a blow!
So, what's all that in honour of?
I know there are more than a few couples here on the Forum who are couples but haven't (or can't, or didn't want to) have their union "legitimized" in one way or another.
If, perchance, YOU happen to fall into this group, for GOD'S SAKE take some steps NOW to ensure that both you and your lover have legal status as far as the house/home, tangible assets you may have jointly acquired, bank and brokerage accounts, etc.,etc.
GET LEGAL ADVICE AND HELP on this... it's a very tricky morass and even with good legal advice, it can get litiginously sticky, very quickly.
The same thing happened to my Next-door-neighbour about five years ago. He and GF had set the date (May) and in January, he developed some sort of liver infection... was in the hospital four months and was due to be released the following week, just in time to be married, developed a staph infection and was dead in two days.
She lost EVERYTHING but her clothes as it was all in his name, and his daughter (beneficiary in the will) took it all. GF wasn't even invited to the funeral.
A more publicized case was that of Hepburn and Tracy.
Take whatever steps you can to proactively alleviate the suffering of your S.O. should either of you pass. It's worth the effort.
Farewell, Pat. I loved you like a brother, but in this case I can legitimately say, "I tol' ya' so!".