Unmarried Couples Should Still Create Estate Plans
Although financial experts strongly encourage married couples — and especially those with children — to create estate plans, with 6.7 million unmarried couples currently residing together in the United States, there also exists a need for these individuals to engage in the estate planning process.
It is particularly important for unmarried couples to understand how the law will recognize their relationship. While married couples may pass their estate to a surviving spouse tax free, all others are liable for estate taxes beyond the exclusion amount (currently $5.43 million). And because Florida does not have a common law marriage statute, courts will not legally recognize these types of relationships when it comes to determining the recipient of assets and property of deceased individuals.
Important documents to prepare
To avoid these hassles, unmarried couples must do sufficient planning to ensure that their assets get passed to their intended beneficiaries. Although it might be tempting to create important financial documents as a do-it-yourself process, a skilled estate planning attorney will help navigate what can be a complicated process. A lawyer will help you create a will, a living trust to ensure that assets don’t get tied up in probate and a durable power of attorney that can assign rights to the partner so that he or she may sign documents and make decisions if you become incapacitated.
An estate planning attorney may also help determine how best to handle jointly owned property, or property that is held by one partner that will ultimately be given to the other.
For further guidance, be sure to consult a dedicated Florida attorney with the Charles Law Offices right away.