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The critical role estate planning can play for unmarried couples

Some long-term couples here in Ohio opt never to get married. Now, just as is the case for members of a married couple, individuals who are part of an unmarried couple may care very much about what rights and protections their partner would have in the event that tragedy strikes. Unmarried individuals can use estate planning to set out such rights and protections for their partner. This can be especially important for unmarried couples, as they lack some of the automatic legal protections provided to married couples.

One situation in which what estate planning a member of an unmarried couple has done can be very impactful is when they pass away. A person may care greatly about what sort of financial situation their partner would be left in if they were to die. Many things can impact this, including what they put in any wills/trusts they formed, what sort of planning they did related to the home the couple lived in and what they did in their beneficiary designations on things such as insurance policies.

Another situation in which how much estate planning a person who is in a long-term unmarried relationship did can have major impacts is if they are incapacitated. If a person wants their partner to have decision-making authority for them in such a situation, it can be very important for them to have this wish put into a legally enforceable document. They can do this through power of attorney documents.

Estate planning is something where the details matter greatly. So, when a person is using estate planning to safeguard goals and wishes they have related to a long-term partner they aren’t married to, getting proper guidance on the details of the documents they planning to use to do this can be critical. This is among the things individuals can go to skilled estate planning lawyers for.

Source: Brainerd Dispatch, “3 financial considerations for unmarried couples,” Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, July 22, 2017

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