Burlington elder law attorneys can provide comprehensive estate planning help to unmarried couples. Marriage confers many advantages, including the possibility of avoiding estate tax by leaving assets to a spouse. Being legally wed makes estate planning much easier in many ways, because your marriage means that there is an official and legally recognized relationship that the state acknowledges. If you are in a committed relationship and do not wish to marry for any reason, you will need to make a more comprehensive plan to address end-of-life and estate issues in a way that best protects your partner.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help. We provide assistance to many unmarried couples, including people with complicated family situations such as children from other relationships. We can provide personalized help to make sure your partner is able to make decisions on your behalf if you get sick, to protect your partner’s access to shared assets and an inheritance, and to make sure that children from inside and outside of the relationship are provided for. Give us a call today to talk with Burlington elder law attorneys about the estate planning issues that unmarried couples must address.
Estate Planning Tips for Unmarried Couples
When you are not married to your partner, there is no legal relationship that exists to give your partner a right to see you if you’re sick, to make decisions in case of incapacity, or to inherit assets after you pass away. Default laws including state intestacy laws typically will not work for you if you want to provide financially for your partner or if you want to give your partner decision-making authority at the end of your life.
You will need to create the legal documents and implement the legal tools that give your partner the protections and control that you wish your partner to have. Some of the different issues that you will need to address include:
- What happens if you get sick: You can use a power of attorney, a living trust, and advanced healthcare directives to specify whether your partners should be given authority to make decisions for you or whether some other designated person should be given this control.
- What happens to your assets after you pass away: If you wish to have your partner inherit, you will need to make sure that you use tools like joint ownership, a last will and testament, trusts, and pay-on-death accounts to provide for your partner. You will need to address estate tax if your estate is large enough to trigger tax, because you cannot pass a large estate on to a non-married partner tax-free as you could a spouse. You may also wish to make plans for assets to transfer outside of probate if your partner is dependent upon the receipt of an inheritance to survive once you’re no longer bringing income in.
- What happens to your children: If you have minor children from outside of the relationship that your partner has not adopted, you will need to make sure you name an appropriate person to serve as the guardian for the children (unless the other biological parent can assume responsibility for their care). If you have children of any age from either inside or outside the relationship, you will also need to make use of tools like a will or trust to ensure they inherit the assets that you wish for them to receive.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can also help you to understand the other steps that you may need to take when making an estate plan and trying to provide for and protect a partner outside of a marriage relationship. Everyone’s family situation is different and the advice our Burlington elder law attorneys will provide to you will be designed to achieve your specific goals for your life and legacy.
Getting Help from Burlington Elder Law Attorneys
Burlington elder law attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC will provide the personalized one-on-one advice that you need to make the appropriate plan for your specific family situation. We can explain to you implications of making an estate plan either inside or outside of a marriage relationship and we can help you to use the right legal tools to protect your family and assets.
To find out more about the ways in which our legal team assists you with making your personalized estate plan, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to get help with your plans today.