Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
Estate Plans for Unmarried Couples
Even if you are not “legally” married you will want to be prepared in the event of your unexpected death or the death of your partners. If you are not legally married then your partner will not be entitled to any Social Security or other benefits and any notice of probate proceedings. Without a well-crafted estate plan, your partner will have no right to your STUFF.
The law is in favor of marriage. So if you want to provide for your partner after you pass away, you need an estate plan that gives you a legal basis to enforce those rights.
Top Things to consider with an Estate Plan
1. Who gets your stuff after you die?
2. Who makes End of Life decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself?
3. Who is your “Pay-on-Death Beneficiary”?
4. Who acts for you in financial matters if you are unable to?
When it comes to your property and belongings, pets etc. a good estate plan ensures your assets will avoid probate and will go to the people you want to have them. First, you can transfer your property to a Living Trust for yourself or to a joint trust with your partner
A Durable Power of Attorney is one of the most critical estate planning documents you can have. Whereas other documents generally only affect others after your death, a power of attorney affects you during your lifetime.
By naming your partner as Attorney-in-Fact through a power of attorney, you can ensure that he or she has the ability to act for you in financial and/or medical situations in the event you cannot act for yourself.
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It is important to have an Advanced Health Care Directive in the event of a serious illness. You should have your wishes written out in a legal document for your partner to act on.
Insurance policies, retirement plans, and even bank accounts often allow you to name one or more individuals as a “pay-on-death beneficiary.”
In the instance where your partner lists you as the pay-on-death beneficiary of his or her bank account, after their death, you can take a copy of their death certificate to the bank, along with your own identification, and the bank will transfer the funds into your name.
In the event of a sudden death of your partner you will want to have these matters squared away so you can take care of your needs during this difficult time.
There are many more things to consider and a trusted attorney can help you sort through all these challenging matters. Contact Herman Jimerson today to schedule an appointment at 314-862-0069.