Estate plans are created for people to prepare for what will happen to their assets when their life is over. They can also be designed to appoint another individual to care for them in the event that they cannot do so themselves. These plans are usually similar to others, regardless of a person’s marital status. However, it can be more important for an unmarried couple to have an estate plan. This is because, with marriage, spouses are given legal rights to each other than unmarried spouses do not have. It is because of this that it is crucial to give those rights to a partner through an estate plan. In doing so, it can be helpful to keep the following in mind:
Re-title Real Estate to Avoid Probate
An estate plan can avoid probate in the event that it is made a certain way. If not, the assets within it can be controlled by intestacy laws. One way a plan can avoid probate is with the creation of a Living Trust for yourself or a Joint Trust with a partner. Once this is done, your partner can administer the estate as a successor trustee when you die. Probate can also be avoided by naming your partner as a joint tenant, allowing the property to be owned by two people so your interest can automatically pass to the joint tenant.
Appoint Your Partner as Attorney-in-Fact
By naming your partner is named as your power of attorney, they have the right to make decisions on your behalf. This can be done for certain financial or medical situations if you are unable to act for yourself. By naming them as your health care proxy, your partner will also be given the right to make end-of-life decisions for you.
Name Your Partner as “Pay-on-Death Beneficiary”
A pay-on-death beneficiary can the right to take a copy of your death certificate to the bank along with their identification. In doing so, they are allowed the right to transfer funds or re-title an account into their own name. This can be done for insurance policies, retirement plans, and bank accounts.
Create a Digital Estate Plan
With the rise of technology, many people choose to create a digital estate plan instead of a written one. This gathers any digital assets they may have. In doing so, it is important to include any instructions on how to access or dispose of once the assets once your life is over.
Write a Letter of Instruction
A letter of instruction tells your partner how to manage the estate the way you want it to be taken care of. This allows them to carry out your final wishes. It is crucial to have this letter, especially if your partner lacks knowledge about your finances or business dealings.
Contact our Firm
Zimmet Law Group, P.C. is an experienced team of attorneys guiding clients through matters of estate planning and administration, divorce and family law, real estate, commercial litigation, business law, bankruptcy, and landlord-tenant law. If you require the services of an effective New York City attorney, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.