Estate Planning Lawyer
If you and your romantic partner are unmarried, you may have numerous questions about how your marital status may affect your estate planning specifically and estate planning issues generally. It is good that you are wondering about these things, because unmarried partners occupy a unique position in re: estate planning under the law. Unlike married partners, unmarried partners do not serve as “default” beneficiaries, powers of attorney, etc. in the event that something should happen to one-half of a couple. Instead, unmarried partners need to be very intentional about the ways in which they structure their estate plans so that their wishes (whatever they may be) are ultimately respected by the court and other loved ones in the event that something happens to one partner or the other.
Estate Planning for Unmarried Partners
It is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney as you and your partner work to construct your estate plans. Receiving experienced legal guidance will help to ensure that everything from your wills to your power of attorney designations and beneficiary designations accurately (and in enforceable ways) reflect your wishes. Please note that your estate plans do not need to be mirror images of one another’s. If you wish to designate your partner as power of attorney but your partner would prefer to have his or her mom/dad/sister, etc. serve in this capacity, that is absolutely fine. Your estate plans should reflect your unique wishes whenever appropriate.
If you have questions about estate planning, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced estate planning attorney today. No matter what age you are or what your marital status is, if you are an adult, you need an estate plan in place. Even individuals who have little material means need to contemplate estate planning as soon as they reach adulthood, as they have reached the age at which they assume responsibility for legal decision-making. Married couples are in a unique position, as the law generally allows one spouse to make decisions on behalf of the other in the event that incapacitation or some other legal trigger renders that spouse unable to make legal decisions personally. But if you are unmarried, you need to specify that you want your romantic partner (or someone else) to make such decisions on your behalf, or the court may delegate this responsibility to a parent, a sibling or someone else who has argued that they should be entrusted with this authority.
Please do not gamble with the enforceability of your wishes. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney today in order to better ensure that your wishes are clearly articulated and enforceable so that they will be ultimately respected. You and your unmarried partner have invested too much in your relationship to have its ties cast aside in the event that something tragic occurs. Let a law firm help you both create enforceable estate plans today.