The proliferation of couples choosing to live together without being married poses serious issues when it comes to estate planning. Here are some common issues that arise.
Who Gets the House?
When a couple of is married, each spouse has the right to live in the home for their lifetime after the death of their spouse, even if the spouse was the sole owner of the home. The same is not true for unmarried couples. Instead, if the owner of the property dies, the survivor has no right to live in the home, unless the couple takes steps to plan for this possibility. They could create Wills that grant the survivor the right to live in the home; they could create a survivorship deed where the property automatically transferred to the survivor; or they could create a trust to hold the property for the benefit of the survivor if the property owner passed away.
Power of Attorney
If one spouse in a married couple becomes incapacitated, the other spouse has the right to make medical decisions and financial decisions regarding the community property. This is not true if the couple is not married. Instead, they need to give each other power of attorney to make medical and financial decisions
A Will Is a Must
If one spouse in a married couple dies without a Will, Texas law will end up dividing the assets so that the surviving spouse receives part or all of the assets. The same is not true if a couple is unmarried. To ensure that your assets pass to your surviving partner, a valid Will is critical.
Get Professional Help
Many things need to be considered. Remember that regular life insurance and Social Security rules don’t apply if you have no legal connection. The same goes for retirement funds. Your estate plan should also cover what happens in the case of a breakup. If you want to have your partner covered, get a professional estate planning attorney to help you out. Contact us today for help.