Couples who are living together but who are not legally married, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, may have unique estate planning needs. Unlike legally married couples, the law does not currently provide you with automatic protection if one of you dies. Thus, having an estate plan in place is important for you.
Unmarried couples can use their estate plan to ensure that assets are distributed as they want them to be. If either person has been previously married or has children from a prior relationship, having an estate plan is even more important. It is also essential to safeguard your estate plan in a safe place where your loved ones can locate and access it when needed.
Another reason unmarried couples need an estate plan is to grant their loved one the authority to make health care decisions on their behalf. When an unmarried individual is incapacitated or unable to make their own medical decisions, there is no guarantee that their physician will include their partner in any medical decisions because you are not legally a family member. To ensure your loved one can make medical decisions on your behalf, you should appoint him or her as your health care proxy or power of attorney. The power of attorney document can grant your loved one the ability to manage your finances if you are unable to do so for yourself.
If you are an unmarried couple and you would like to learn more about creating an estate plan, contact us to schedule an appointment.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.