Estate Planning For Single Or Unmarried Couples
There are numerous estate planning benefits for married couples. Unmarried couples and single people rarely receive the same benefits that are available to married couples.
A proper estate plan can provide single people and unmarried couples with many of the same benefits the law allows for married people. In addition, many current laws provide legal processes for single people that are much more complicated than for married couples. It is important this is addressed prior to any catastrophic event or death so we can ensure your loved ones are not subject to those more complicated rules.
Essential Estate Planning Steps For Unmarried Couples
Consider Joint Ownership. One way to ensure property passes on death without also needing a will is by owning the property jointly, with the right of survivorship. If one joint tenant dies, their share immediately expires and the remaining joint tenants automatically own all of the property. This is also a good way to avoid probate.
Make sure to review your beneficiary designations and update them if needed.
Create a durable power of attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document appointing one or more people to act for you on financial matters, should you become disabled. Without this document, your partner will have to go to court to appoint someone as a conservator, which can be both an expensive and time-consuming process that could have been easily avoided.
Create a medical power of attorney
A medical power of attorney is a document identifying an agent to make personal healthcare decisions for you when you can’t do so for yourself, whether permanently or temporarily. Without this document in place, your partner may be shut out by other family members or forced to go through court proceedings to be appointed guardian.
Consider a revocable trust
Though not married, some couples find it beneficial to establish a revocable trust. This allows you to designate one or more people to manage finances if necessary in the event of your incapacity. You can specify any number of co-trustees for the trust so that each person has oversight and control over them together.