What areas of my estate plan should I review if I am in a relationship but not married? If you are in a relationship, but are not married, creating an estate plan has unique issues that should be carefully addressed. If your existing plan pre-dates the relationship or was prepared many years ago, it is a good idea to have an experienced attorney review the documents in order to make suggestions for any modifications. Every estate is unique. However, there are several common areas that should be addressed by every unmarried couple.
Four Areas to Watch for When Estate Planning as an Unmarried Couple
When considering an update of an estate plan while in a relationship but unmarried, the following are the four most common areas that need addressing:
The Titling of Accounts and Property
Review your assets to ensure that the spouse has survivorship rights. Another option is to consider adding a living trust to your existing estate plan. The trust can hold the title to the assets in most cases, allowing for a smooth transition of ownership to the surviving spouse after you pass.
Naming the Proper Beneficiaries of Retirement Plans
Unmarried spouses do not have the same legal protections that are afforded to those that are legally wed. Review existing retirement plans and modify beneficiary designations as needed to accommodate your surviving spouse.
Ensuring That Proper Life Insurance Is in Place to Support the Surviving Spouse
If one spouse dies, will the survivor have the ability to support himself or herself? Life insurance can be a great tool to add to your estate plan, or to increase or decrease according to changing needs over time. It is vital that the beneficiary designations on these policies be kept up-to-date.
Keeping General Estate Planning Documents Updated
Since unmarried spouses have few legal rights, your estate planning documents must all be carefully crafted and updated in order to protect the interests of the surviving spouse. This includes wills, healthcare directives, and powers of attorney.
What areas of my estate plan should I review if I am in a relationship but not married? When you are ready to update your estate plan, we are here to help. We encourage you to view our client testimonials page today to learn more about how we have helped other families who are working to create their estate plans.