It is becoming more common for couples to live together without getting married and without any legal agreements in place. There are many reasons why people bypass marriage and simply live together, and finances are often at the top of the list. Perhaps one person has debt the other does not want to incur, maybe the couple is older and does not want to lose their tax benefits, family members may object to the marriage and other reasons. Whatever the reason, you can still protect your life partner financially when you pass or if you become ill, and prevent expensive and stressful Estate Litigation.
If you live in Florida and have a life partner but are not married, it is crucial to begin your Estate Planning now.
Estate Planning may sound like it’s only for the wealthy, but you need to plan to care for your loved ones if you should become incapacitated or after your death.
Living Together With a Mortgage
Florida does not recognize common law marriage. This means that your life partner is not entitled to the home or any other of your assets when you die. Both names must be on the deed for the house to pass to your partner. Regardless of whether they lived there, can prove they made the mortgage payments, paid for the home’s upkeep… it doesn’t matter. Legally, if your partner’s name is don’t on the deed, they are not an owner of your home.
But it’s not just your house; unless you have a Will or an Estate Plan, your life partner will not inherit your property and will be excluded from the decision-making process if you become incapacitated or die.
Estate Planning Tips To Protect Your Life Partner
Estate Planning consists of more than simply writing your Will. Here are some tips that a Florida Estate Planning Attorney can discuss with you to create a legal plan to protect your life partner if something should happen to you:
- Own property jointly
Have both you and your life partner’s names should be on the deed to your house. When one person passes, the home will still belong to the other person and not be sold through the courts or pass to your legal heirs.
- Name them your health care surrogate
If you are in an accident or suddenly become incapacitated, your partner will have no legal right to decide on your behalf if you are not married and not named your caregiver. You can name your life partner your health care surrogate independently or in conjunction with a Living Will.
- Establish a Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes your partner to handle matters such as your finances or make health care decisions on your behalf.
- Name your partner as your beneficiary
All of your bank accounts and retirement accounts allow you to name a beneficiary when you die. Now is an excellent time to review those documents and add your partner’s name if needed.
- Include them in your Will
Having your life partner included in your legal Will allows you to legally distribute assets to them, name them as a guardian to your children and help them financially after you pass.
- Establish a Revocable Trust instead of a Will
A Trust works similarly to a Will in that it allows you to name the beneficiaries of your assets after you are deceased. But unlike a Will, A Revocable Trust is kept private instead of being made public through the courts.
These are just a few of the issues you can discuss with your Florida Estate Planning Attorney to protect your life partner if you become ill, incapacitated or pass away.
Why You Need a South Florida Estate Planning Attorney
Meeting with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney will ensure that you have an Estate Plan that is specific to you and your needs (not some generic form found online). An Estate Plan saves your heirs time, money and stress and can prevent costly Estate Litigation.
We Are Your Trusted South Florida Estate Planning Attorney
At the Siegel Law Group, we understand that protecting your loved ones after you pass is of the utmost importance, and we are here to help with your Estate Planning needs. Call us today for a complimentary consultation at (561) 955-8515, or contact us through our website for more information.