Although estate planning is essential for married couples, it is potentially even more crucial for unmarried couples. Unmarried couples will be unable to make end-of-life decisions or inherit from each other if they do not have an estate plan in place. Below, Estate planning attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein addresses the necessity of estate planning when you are not married.
Developing A Will
If you die without a legal will, the state will determine where your property will be dispersed after your death, and it will not be given to an unmarried partner. In most cases, your assets will be distributed to your closest surviving relatives. In addition, if you become incapacitated, your partner will not be able to make medical decisions on your behalf without written consent. Luckily, with the development of an estate plan you can decide where your assets will be distributed and who can make your medical decisions in the event of incapacitation.
Having Joint Assets
Your partner will get whatever assets you choose to leave them if you have an estate plan in place. Joint ownership of assets is one method to ensure that your partner receives your assets. Under these circumstances, the surviving partner will inherit the assets, but you must make sure that both of your names are written on the titles or documents.
Beneficiary Designations On Accounts and Insurance Policies
Check beneficiary designations on bank accounts, retirement money and life insurance policies to ensure your partner is designated as a beneficiary. Without a particular beneficiary designation, your partner won’t be able to access any of those accounts.
Appointing A Durable Power of Attorney
In the event of your incapacity, a durable power of attorney appoints one or more individuals to act on your behalf in financial and legal affairs. Without it, if you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle your affairs for an extended length of time, your money may get disorganized, and your payments may not be paid.
Speak to Douglas C. Lauenstein About Estate Planning Today
While the estate planning process is complex, our team will work with you to develop an estate plan that is both thorough and tailored to your specific requirements. Douglas C. Lauenstein, an estate planning attorney in Harford County with decades of expertise, is here to represent you and your loved ones as you navigate this complicated process. Contact us today at lauensteinlaw.com/contact-us/.