In A Committed, Unmarried Relationship? Estate Planning Musts

Law Blog

More couples than ever have made the decision to live together and put off marriage or skip marriage entirely. While this decision doesn't have a significant effect on the day-to-day living and decisions, it can have serious consequences when it comes to your estate and what happens to you after you pass away. If you and your spouse are putting off marriage, here's what you need to know about prioritizing your estate planning.

Protect Your Real Estate Investments

If you own property, it will go into probate by default if you don't have an estate plan in place. That means that your significant other will have to go through the probate process and may or may not receive control of the property when it's completed.

You can avoid this entirely and ensure that your significant other has successor rights to the property by working with an estate planning attorney to put the property into a trust. A joint trust with your significant other ensures him or her the successor trustee rights and allows them to administer the estate after your passing.

Ensure Your Medical And Financial Decision Rights

If you and your significant other were married, he or she would have spousal rights to make financial and medical decisions for you if you were unable to make them yourself. However, when you opt not to get married, those rights are not automatically granted.

The only way to ensure that your significant other can make those decisions for you in the event that something happens is to establish power of attorney and a health proxy. Granting your partner power of attorney gives him or her the legal right to act on your behalf in financial and medical determinations, and the health proxy will ensure that your end-of-life wishes are clearly defined.

Use Your Beneficiary Designations

Every bank account, investment account, and retirement fund requires that you name a beneficiary who will receive those funds upon your death. Make sure that you evaluate every one of those accounts that you own and list your significant other as the beneficiary on the accounts. This ensures that he or she receives those funds in the event of your death.

Your estate planning attorney can help you review all of the accounts that you may have, which may require a beneficiary designation so that you can be sure that all of your bases are covered. The better prepared you are, the easier it is to ensure that your significant other is taken care of the way that you wish upon your death.

To learn more, contact a law office like Abom & Kutulakis LLP


21 November 2019

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.