Many unmarried couples share the same love and commitment that married couples share. As part of an unmarried couple, you want to protect your partner if something happens to you. You can make sure that your partner is financially secure after your death by creating the right kind of estate plan.
Estate Planning Tools to Protect Your Partner
- Will. A will describes who gets your property after you die. Without a properly executed will, the state of California will determine who gets your property based on the laws of intestacy. Your partner will only be treated as a spouse under the intestacy laws if you are registered domestic partners. Otherwise, your partner will get nothing unless you have a will.
- Power of attorney. A financial power of attorney allows you to pick someone to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. In other words, if you are too sick to make financial decisions, your named power of attorney can do so on your behalf.
- Advance healthcare directive. An advance healthcare directive outlines your wishes about your own healthcare in the event that you are unable to communicate. In this document, you can also name a power of attorney for healthcare to allow someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. If you want your partner to make medical decisions for you, you must execute a power of attorney. Without being legally married, this right will not be granted to your partner without this document.
- Trust. There are many kinds of trusts that may help you achieve your specific estate planning goals.
Often, a combination of the estate planning tools described above and others can be used to achieve your goals, but don’t take any chances. Instead, you should make sure every document you create is legally executed and reflects your wishes.
Create an Estate Plan That Achieves Your Goals
You do not have to be married to want to protect your partner, but you do have to take action. California law does not treat unmarried couples the same way as married couples. If you get sick or die without having the right documents in place, your partner may be unable to make medical decisions for you or to inherit your property without the consent of your family.
To prevent potential problems, please contact San Diego Legacy Law, PC today. Attorney Nicole D’Ambrogi will listen to all of your concerns, provide you with all of your legal options, and create the estate plan that protects you and your partner.