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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Estate Planning Tips for Unmarried Couples

It's common today for people in committed relationships to live together without getting married. While this may have its advantages, it can also leave unmarried couples without legal protection, particularly in the area of estate matters. Even in the absence of items like a will or trust, married couples generally remain protected under state probate laws. Unmarried couples don't enjoy this luxury. Therefore, it's particularly important for unmarried couples to work with a Michigan estate planning attorney to create an estate plan. If you are a partner in an unmarried couple, below are some estate planning tips to help you get started.

Tips for Unmarried Couples

Create a Will or Trust

While a will is sufficient for most unmarried couples, you may also want to consider including a living trust in your estate plan. For details on the advantages of both, contact a Michigan estate planning attorney.

Create Powers of Attorney

Durable powers of attorney give each partner in an unmarried relationship the ability to make certain decisions on behalf of the other. For example, durable financial powers of attorney allow each partner to manage the other's finances. And durable medical powers of attorney give the partners the legal authority to make medical decisions on each other's behalf.

Update Beneficiary Designations

Unmarried couples can also ensure financial protection for one another by reviewing and updating their beneficiary designations. Life insurance policies, retirement plans, and similar estate planning vehicles allow a policy or plan holder to identify a beneficiary to receive assets upon the holder’s death. These assets then pass outside of probate to the named beneficiary. However, if no beneficiary is identified, then the assets will go to the holder’s next of kin, which means that his or her partner will receive nothing.

Although beneficiary designations are necessary and useful, they are no substitute for a comprehensive estate plan. Therefore, if you are an unmarried partner in a committed relationship, you should contact an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney to ensure that both you and your partner are adequately protected.

Get Started with a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

In order to ensure that you and your partner are protected, you should contact an attorney today to begin the estate planning process. As noted above, unmarried couples have special estate planning needs.

At Keating Law, PLC, our Michigan estate planning attorney will assist you and your partner with all aspects of the estate planning process, including drafting a will, creating a trust, executing a durable power of attorney, and choosing an executor. Remember, without a valid estate plan in place, it is unlikely that your assets will pass to your partner should anything ever happen to you (and vice versa). Therefore, if you’d like to ensure that you and your partner are financially protected, please contact us for a consultation.

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