Estate planning is an important aspect of financial planning for everyone, regardless of marital status. For unmarried couples, it is even more crucial to have an estate plan in place. Unmarried couples do not have the same legal protections as married couples.
We will explore the estate planning options available to unmarried couples. Certain required documents can ensure the protection of assets and loved ones in the event of unexpected circumstances.
Benefits of Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
There are three main benefits of estate planning for unmarried couples including protecting assets, providing for loved ones and avoiding conflict. Here is a more in-depth analysis of each benefit:
Protecting Your Assets
Estate planning can help unmarried couples protect their assets and ensure they are distributed according to their wishes. Without an estate plan, assets may be subject to probate, which can be a significantly long and costly process.
Providing for Loved Ones
Estate planning allows unmarried couples to provide for their loved ones in the event of their death or incapacity. This includes ensuring they take care of their children and provide for their partner.
Estate planning can help unmarried couples avoid conflict and confusion in the event of their death or incapacity. Having a clear plan in place can prevent disputes and ensure that the couple’s wishes are carried out.
Options for Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
There are 4 main options for estate planning: will, power of attorney (POA), trust, and beneficiary designations.
A will is a legal document that specifies how a person’s assets will be distributed after their death. For unmarried couples, a will can be a valuable tool for ensuring their assets are distributed according to their wishes.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows one person to make decisions on behalf of another person. This can be useful document ensure their partner has the power to make decisions on their behalf in the event of their incapacity.
A trust is a legal arrangement where assets are held by a trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Trusts can be useful for those who want to provide for their partner and ensure their assets are protected.
Beneficiary designations allow unmarried couples to specify who will receive their assets in the event of their death. This can be a useful tool for ensuring that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.
Making an Estate Plan: What to Consider
When making an estate plan, there are several factors that unmarried couples should consider. These include:
The first step in estate planning is to identify the assets that you and your partner own. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property.
Estate taxes can significantly reduce the value of your estate. Furthermore, it is important to consider how they will impact your estate plan. An estate planning attorney can help you understand the estate tax laws in your state and how they apply to your situation.
If you have disabled or minor children, it is important to consider who you would like to be their guardian. In the event of your death or incapacity you can ensure that your children are taken care of by the person you choose.
In the event of your incapacity, it is particularly important to consider who will make decisions about your health care. A power of attorney can ensure that your partner has the power to make decisions on your behalf.
It is important to consider what kind of end-of-life care you would like to receive, and to make your wishes known to your partner and healthcare providers.
Estate Plan Review
Estate planning is not a one-time event. It is important to review your estate plan regularly to ensure that it continues to meet your needs and goals.
The Importance of Consultation with an Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning can be complex. Consider consulting with an estate planning attorney to ensure your estate plan meets your specific needs and goals.
An estate planning attorney can explicitly help you understand the estate planning options available to you and can assist you in making an informed decision. An attorney can also ensure that they properly execute your estate plan and meet all legal requirements.
Creating a Will Online
If you are are hesitant to seek the assistance of an attorney, creating a will online may be a viable option. Creating a will online can provide a basic level of protection for your assets and loved ones. Most importantly, something is better than nothing.
By following this step, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are protected in the event of your death or incapacity. Many people create a will online to organize their thoughts and then have an attorney review their document.
Estate planning is a crucial aspect of financial planning for unmarried couples. It is imperative to have a well thought-out plan in place to safeguard your assets and loved ones.
Moreover, estate planning can prevent conflicts and ensure that your final wishes are honored in case of death or incapacity. If you are an unmarried couple, seeking the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney to tailor your plan to your unique needs and aspirations is highly recommended.
Register your Documents for Additional Security
Furthermore, to ensure that your final wishes are carried out, it is crucial to register your will and living will with The U.S. Will Registry.
Unfortunately, people often misplace these important documents, making it difficult to find them when needed. The good news is, a Will Registry is available for free and provides peace of mind for those left behind.
In addition to registration, be certain to upload a copy of your documents for free to SideDrawer.com. This also ensures that your documents are never lost or missing.