Estate planning tips for unmarried couples

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Marriages, whether legally or not tying the knot do equally have huge impact on estate plans. Estate plans usually decides what happen to your assets both while you are alive and well or dead, how you want to share your assets to family, children or spouse, who takes over making certain important decisions for you in cases of mental incapability and lastly transfer of ownership of a property. These don’t change when you get married, so an estate plan for unmarried couples usually take the same format.

To understand better why unmarried couples to have an estate plan and prepare essential document, a legal marriage is only recognized and such enjoys social security benefits, immigration status, joint tax filing, joint bankruptcy filing etc. while marriages recognizes and provides certain legal rights to individuals, unmarried couples may not have those rights, but at the very least can make essential estate document, that would make them enforce and enjoy similar benefits.

The estate plans unmarried couple need

Tip one: Write and name your partner in your Will

It is possible to name your partner as a beneficiary in your will if you would like your assets to be transferred to them if you pass away. As always, in the complete absence of a will, your assets will be subject to intestate succession. Additionally, it is important to know that by default, a person’s assets can only be transferred to direct, blood-related family members when a will has not been drafted. A non-family member, such as an unmarried partner, is not eligible to receive any portion of your assets through probate. Therefore, you must name your partner as a beneficiary on your will if you would like them to be get a part of your estate.

Tip two: Prepare a power of attorney and an advance medical directive

Power of attorney allows you delegate to the person your choice the ability to manage your assets and make important decisions should you become mentally incapable. If you pass away, the power of attorney expires. After that, only the executor of your estate can handle your legal and financial matters, though you do have the option of naming the same person as your power of attorney and executor. A medical power of attorney allows you designate a health agent who would make medical decisions when you are unable to do so. This same document could be filed in court to should it be someone needs to be your guardian or conservator it is important that unmarried couples prepare their power of attorney. If you do not have this document, the court may appoint a guardian to supervise to oversee these matters for you.

Tip three: Write a Living Together Agreement

A living together agreement is another estate planning option unmarried couple should look into. A living together agreement is a type of cohabitation agreement that helps protect the rights of couples while safeguarding their individual interests and assets. The main objective of the living together agreement is to prevent conflict over ownership in the event of a split or dead of either of the partners. Living together agreements can include property owned by one or both partners, property that existed before the relationship but is now used by both partners, and other belongings such as cars, pets, furniture etc.

Furthermore, you can establish a joint tendency with a right of survivorship. This ensures that if one owner dies, all of the jointly owned property will be transferred to the surviving owner without going through probate. To implement this, both of your names need to be present on the asset’s official title document, such as the deed to your home and joint bank accounts

Tip four: Prepare a revocable living trust to avoid probate

Through trust, you can name your partner as a trustee to manage and make financial decisions over your assets both while you are alive or dead as well as when you become mentally incapacitated. Trust also forms the bases of how your estates are shared or given to beneficiaries, what happens to you when you die and who makes certain financial or medical decisions for you when you are mentally incapable. You can avoid probate with the revocable living trust. The assets placed in the trust would not have to go through probate since their ownership technically remains unchanged.

Although estate planning is commonly portrayed as a tool for married couples, unmarried couples as well as singles can however make take proper step to enjoy benefits of estate plans.

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DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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