Let’s begin by explaining why every unmarried couple must have an estate plan ready. It’s not difficult to comprehend the importance of estate planning for couples who are not bonded by wedlock. Checking the long list of benefits married couples in our society get from the legal system should be enough for you. Here are a few examples of those benefits:
- Immigration status
- The right to refuse to appear as a witness against your husband/wife
- Joint tax and bankruptcy filing
- Social Security benefits
- Hospital visits
- Homestead rights
The law doesn’t give you any of the above rights if you and your partner are not married. The estate planning tips provided below might make life a bit easier for unmarried couples like you.
Your House Must Avoid Probate
Your estate plan must ensure that all your assets avoid probate and get distributed among people you want to give them to. However, if there’s no legal document supporting the title transfer outside of the probate, you may need to follow rigid intestacy regulations to decide who will receive your assets. This means if you are not married to your partner, the intestacy regulations might stop you from inheriting each other’s assets. To stop this, you will have to exercise one of the following methods of avoiding probate for your real estate properties.
- Transfer the properties to any living trust of your choice
- Create joint tenancy
Seek professional help with your estate planning services to ensure you can enjoy complete ownership of your assets without probate.
Your Partner Should Play the Role of Your Attorney-in-Fact
For your information, an attorney-in-fact is a professional appointed legally to work on behalf of another individual. Your attorney-in-fact is the person responsible for dealing with your property and linked papers in your absence.
In other words, you will have to give your assets’ power of attorney to your partner. All other documents related to ownership and inheritance take effects when the original owner dies. The power of attorney is different; it starts working in the lifetime of the owner.
If you use the power of attorney to declare your partner as your attorney-in-fact, they will be able to make decisions on your behalf during medical and/or financial emergencies. The power of attorney will take effect whenever you will not be able to act and take decisions for yourself.
Your Partner Should Be Your Pay-on-Death Beneficiary
You must be familiar with the term “pay-on-death-beneficiary” if you have filled out forms linked with retirement plans, insurance policies, bank accounts, etc. These forms will give you the option to choose multiple people (which includes your partner) as your pay-on-death-beneficiary.
If you are your partner’s pay-on-death-beneficiary, you will be able to transfer all financial assets on your name when your partner dies. However, for that to happen smoothly, you will have to submit certain documents to the bank. These include the death certificate of your partner and proof of your identity.
The above estate planning tips must help you if you have no plans to get married to your partner. To get the entire process done flawlessly, you must use estate planning services offered by a reputable organization.