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Estate planning for unmarried couples

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate

You and your partner have been together for many years, but you never felt the need to get married. You want to make sure that not doing so won’t negatively impact your partner’s right to make medical decisions for you or to get assets from your estate if you pass away, because the last thing you want is to see them left with a legal mess if you die.

Good estate planning measures can help you protect yourself and the one you love. While getting married can make it easier to pass on assets, there are many ways that you can do so without needing that legal protection.

Passing on assets with a trust

One important part of your estate plan should be a will and trust that will pass your assets to your partner. A trust is good in combination with a will, because it takes assets out of your estate and places them into the hands of a third party. Depending on the kind of trust you use, you can set it up to minimize the estate’s value as well as to protect assets against creditors.

You dictate the terms of a trust, so you can decide to set it up to pass on assets all at once when you die or to pass them on based on your preferences, such as spacing out payments over time.

Using beneficiary designations

Another thing to look into is using beneficiary designations to pass assets on to your partner. For example, if you have life insurance or a bank account that is only in your name, you can set up your partner as the beneficiary of that account if you pass away. That way, they’ll have access to the funds without needing to go to court to seek the funds.

Setting up your powers of attorney

Finally, consider setting up your health care and financial powers of attorney for your partner. Doing so will put them in a position where they can have control over finances and help with health care decisions if you need the support.

These are three things you can consider as you work on an estate plan to protect your partner. Even though you don’t have the legal protections of a marriage, you can still use legal maneuvers to protect your loved one.