If you are in a committed relationship but not married, you may be wondering how to go about estate planning. While the process is similar for unmarried and married couples, there are a few things to consider that are unique to your situation. Here are some tips on estate planning for unmarried couples.
1. Write Each Other in Your Wills
A will is a legal document where you can leave property and assets to your partner. It can also help you get a general idea of which of your beneficiaries will receive what when it comes to dividing your estate. It is essential to establish a will to ensure that your plan for your decedents is honored. However, a will does not avoid probate. A recommended alternative to a will is to establish an revocable living trust with your companion.
2. Name Your Partner as a Joint Tenant
If you are unmarried and estate planning, you may name your partner as a joint tenant. Without this designation, your partner may not be able to inherit your estate. Additionally, if you have any joint property, such as a house or a car, naming your partner as a joint tenant ensures that they will be able to keep the property in the event of your death. However, naming your partner as a joint tenant also suggests your property to the debts and any claims that may be claimed against your partner. A better alternative is to create a revocable living trust with your partner and establish the trust as the owner, so your partner can inherit without being subject to debts.
3. Purchase a Life Insurance Policy
Because unmarried partners cannot receive each other’s pensions or social security accounts, purchasing a life insurance policy is necessary to provide for one another. By naming your partner as a beneficiary, you can find relief knowing the surviving spouse will be able to find financial security.
Although estate planning is often thought of as something that only married couples need to worry about, it is just as important for unmarried couples. Without a valid estate plan, unmarried couples have no legal recourse if something happens to one of them.
Ready to Plan?
If you’re ready to take the next step, just know we are here for you. We can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and provides peace of mind for both you and your partner. Give our office a call at (800) 265-2314 or fill out a consultation request form to get in touch with one of our estate planning attorneys.