While many couples who pursue estate planning are married, many long-term couples who are not legally bound by marriage want to plan for their future needs. Although the percentage of long-term unmarried couples is increasing in the population, the law still often separates these couples from those who are married. This is important to remember when estate planning because there are specific issues you will have to carefully avoid with the help of your knowledgeable estate planning lawyer at The Millman Law Group. Estate planning protects unmarried couples by allowing them to designate their loved ones as beneficiaries of their estate or assets without relying on the default decisions outlined by state law. The following are ways in which estate planning can help you protect your long-term partner in the case of illness or death.
Avoid Intestate Succession Laws
If you were to die without a basic will, you would leave behind an “intestate” estate. State succession laws will determine what happens to your assets when this happens. Although these laws can vary, they almost always distribute an estate exclusively to a spouse or close relatives.
If you are not legally married, your partner will receive nothing from your estate in this scenario, regardless of how many years you may have been together. However, estate planning protects unmarried couples by allowing a person to state in their will who they wish to receive any or all of their assets.
If you were to become incapacitated tomorrow, someone would have to take control of your assets and make important decisions for you. You may want this person to be your long-term partner who knows you best. However, the law will not favor them if it becomes necessary for a judge to decide.
You can resolve this dilemma by creating a revocable living trust that appoints you as trustee and your partner as successor trustee. Major assets can be transferred into the trust, and if you become incapacitated, your partner will take over as trustee, and he or she will cover the assets without judicial approval.
Health Care Decisions
There may also come a time when you cannot make your own medical decisions. Someone else may have to make life-sustaining or life-ending medical decisions for you. If you want your trusted partner to make those decisions, you need to execute the correct advance directive. Otherwise, if a judge is the one to decide who will be your healthcare agent, your partner will not be likely to be appointed – the judges often prefer to select legal spouses or the next closest relative.
Funeral and Burial Planning
Many people have strong opinions about what happens to them after their death. What will their funeral and burial arrangements be? However, you won’t be able to ensure your wishes are followed, so you want to appoint someone you trust to make these significant decisions. If there is a dispute about who is in charge, a court will likely appoint a close family member.
By incorporating funeral and burial components into your estate plan, you can resolve this potential problem. Estate planning protects unmarried couples by allowing you to control who in your life receives your assets and determines your care.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.