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Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples: Essential Tips and Strategies

Loune-Djenia Askew, Esq.

Jul 8, 2024

Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you navigate the process.

Without the legal protections of marriage, you need to take extra steps so your partner is taken care of and your wishes are respected. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you with the process. 

A will specifies how your assets should be distributed upon your death. For unmarried couples, you need to name your partner as a beneficiary, as they won't automatically inherit your assets without this documentation.

Designate Beneficiaries

Review all your financial accounts, insurance policies, and retirement plans so your partner is listed as a beneficiary where appropriate. These assets will pass directly to your partner without going through probate.

Establish a Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows your partner to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without this, they might not have the legal authority to manage your finances, which could lead to complications.

Set Up a Health Care Proxy

A health care proxy, or medical power of attorney, designates your partner to make medical decisions for you if you're unable to do so. Your partner can act on your behalf and make decisions that align with your wishes.

Consider a Living Trust

A living trust allows you to transfer assets to your partner without going through probate.

Joint Ownership

Consider owning property jointly with your partner. Joint ownership with the right of survivorship means that if one partner dies, the other automatically owns the property. This can include real estate, bank accounts, and other significant assets.

Write a Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction is an informal document that accompanies your will. It can provide additional details about your wishes, such as funeral arrangements and personal messages to loved ones. 

Estate planning for unmarried couples requires careful consideration and proactive steps. By creating a will, designating beneficiaries, setting up powers of attorney, and considering tools like living trusts and joint ownership, you can protect your partner and your wishes are honored. 

For more information, contact our office at Askew & Associates, P.A. by calling 954-546-2699.

Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns.

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