Estate planning is particularly important for unmarried couples due to the unique legal challenges they may face in the absence of formal recognition or legal protections that married couples enjoy!
Asset Distribution: Without a will or estate plan, the laws of intestacy will govern the distribution of assets. These laws typically prioritize blood relatives over unmarried partners, potentially leaving the surviving partner without a rightful claim to shared property or assets. Estate planning allows unmarried couples to clearly designate how their assets should be distributed, ensuring that their partner is provided for after their passing.
Healthcare Decision-Making: In the event of a medical emergency or incapacity, unmarried couples may face challenges when it comes to making healthcare decisions for each other. Without proper legal documentation, hospitals and medical professionals may prioritize immediate family members in determining who can make medical decisions. By creating healthcare directives such as a healthcare power of attorney or a living will, unmarried couples can appoint each other as decision-makers and ensure their wishes are respected.
Guardianship of Children: Unmarried couples with children need to establish guardianship arrangements to protect their children's well-being in case both parents pass away. Without a designated guardian, the court may decide who will care for the children, potentially disregarding the surviving partner's wishes. By naming a guardian in an estate plan, unmarried couples can ensure their children will be raised by someone they trust.
Avoiding Probate: Estate planning allows unmarried couples to minimize or avoid the probate process altogether. Probate can be time-consuming, costly, and open to public scrutiny. By utilizing tools such as joint ownership, beneficiary designations, and trusts, unmarried couples can transfer assets to their partners outside of probate, ensuring a smooth and efficient transfer of wealth.
We make it even easier to get Your Estate Plan in place with our DIY Your Estate Plan package. If you're considering setting up a revocable living trust as part of your overall estate plan, take our estate planning plan quiz to see what option is best for you today!