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Legal Pitfalls of Marriage

My partner and I have been together almost 31 years. We are registered as domestic partners, but have been contemplating actual marriage. However, one thing that is holding us back is this: If married and one of us should become extremely ill, requiring long-term hospitaliation and/or surgery of some sort and accrue huge medical bills (above and beyond what is covered by Medicare) and then die, the surviving spouse would suddenly be faced with having to pay all of the bills, would he not? I've read of so many instances with married couples of this happening and the surviving partner having to actually declare bankruptcy because of astronomical medical bills. I don't think this is true of domestic partners. Perhaps someone with a legal background could address this. It would seem a definite deterrant to actually getting married.

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