Well you could always get a mortgage and own real estate together. Nothing stops you from doing that now. But there is the issue of whether you can own it with the same rights and privileges that married couples can own it. The consesus among experts is that you will be able to own it with the same rights as married couples. However, it remains to be seen how this state law will interact with federal laws which do not recognize civil unions. For example, how would the IRS or Department of Justice view your ownership interests?
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As stated in the other answer, even complete strangers can own and inherit real estate with and from each other today, through joint tenancy (JTWROS - joint tenants with the right of survivorship). There is a "special" ownership form for just married couples that will most likely NOT apply. As to a mortgage, again even strangers can apply for joint credit just as married couples and jointly mortgage property with each signer jointly and severally liable on the total debt. The big question is how lenders will approach the situation; theoretically they should underwrite they way they would any "partnership" based on who is applying for the credit. The best way to test the waters is by . . . testing the waters. Check with a couple of lenders and see which give you the clearest, simplest answers. And if any say "no" I'd think about reporting them to the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions....... Best luck to you!!!