Unmarried Partners Require Nuanced Estate Planning
Back in 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow made the term “conscious uncoupling” popular when she and her husband divorced. When couples are not married, conscious uncoupling isn’t always as complicated as divorce can be. And over the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of unmarried cohabiting couples has tripled from 6 million to 17 million. Many of these unmarried partnerships do last a lifetime, but like many long-term relationships, they also come to an end after major investments in homes and other assets have been made together. Additionally, many older couples get together once their children are grown. I’ve addressed this issue specifically in an article I posted earlier this month, which you can read by going to the link at the end of this blog.
As everyone knows, the laws favor married couples, addressing and protecting their interests. Though the laws don’t address healthcare and financial decisions.
Uncertainty is a good reason for any unmarried couple in a relationship with or without children to establish an estate plan. Whether you end up staying together until “death do you part” or not, an estate plan will add a degree of trust and confidence as your relationship evolves. Both partners will agree to the terms of the estate plan which can be adjusted over time. Beyond the distribution of physical assets, the more important issues to address are healthcare and financial directions should one of you become terminally ill or mentally incapacitated. Establishing both, a Power of Attorney and a medical/healthcare directive, are integral. Without a power of attorney or medical directive in place, an unmarried partner’s legal next of kin will likely be the person to make healthcare and financial decisions on their behalf if incapacitated.
It’s important to work with an attorney experienced in establishing estate and asset protection plans for unmarried partners as there are many nuances that could render such plans invalid. If you and your partner are not married and are interested in exploring the value of establishing an estate plan, give our office a call at 404-370-0696. We are experienced at legally and successfully protecting unmarried couples’ interests.
Click here to read about:
Estate Planning For Late In Life Partners With Children And No Intention Of Marrying