For the past few years, it’s become increasingly common for couples to choose not to marry. Because things are different than they used to be, the cost of a wedding next to the cost of living makes having a ceremony less appealing. However, unmarried couples face many challenges since they are often not taken seriously in accordance with the law. If this sounds like you, don’t fret because there are ways for you and your partner to stay protected through estate planning which the friendly advisors at Maggi Tax are here to discuss with you!
The Importance Of Estate Planning For Unmarried Couples
Without an estate plan, there’s no telling what will happen to certain assets should something occur. Unless there are set documents in place, a partner is not guaranteed the right to these assets since there are typically other people who can be seen as more “qualified”. Having trusts and wills as part of a solid estate plan can help your partner receive your assets (and vice versa) by clearly and officially stating them as the rightful beneficiary. Other essential estate planning documents for unmarried couples include an advanced healthcare directive and a Durable Power of Attorney.
Advanced Healthcare Directives
Some people may know this as a “healthcare proxy”, but the idea is the same. An advanced healthcare directive can officially designate your partner as the one who has the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. This document is important because this decision would otherwise fall to any other family member with no room to refute it.
Durable Power Of Attorney
This document is in the same vein as an advanced healthcare directive, but it has more to do with managing your funds and other monetary assets. Again, you can list your partner as the one who has the authority to manage your financial decisions, including expenses, should you ever become unable to do so.
When it comes to children, the law is especially strict. The role of guardianship would typically fall on any other available member of the family, including the biological parent. If you wish for a chance at guardianship to rest in the hands of your current partner rather than the biological parent, then you shouldn’t overlook this step. Sometimes, the law will even appoint guardianship to a qualifying outside party over the partner unless specified.
Open Communication: The Most Important Tool
Trusts, wills, and other estate planning documents are crucial to have for the protection of unmarried couples, but this is only effective through clear and open communication. Each partner needs to be honest and transparent about their intentions, expectations, and personal desires. Picking apart every little detail can help avoid unwanted dilemmas later on, especially in instances where a partner is unable to speak for themselves. Some arguments may arise from strong opposing opinions, but sorting things out and coming to a mutual understanding is part of the process when financial planning as a couple. Of course, it always helps to get a professional’s perspective.
Need Help With Estate Planning For You And Your Partner? Contact Maggi Tax!
You and your partner are in it together, but you also don’t have to do it all alone. We encourage you to call the caring and talented advisors at Maggi Tax today at (727) 799-1701 to schedule a consultation. Estate planning for an unmarried couple is a team effort, and we’re here to help guide you through it!