Marriage isn’t for everyone, but when it comes to estate planning, an already complicated process can become even more difficult if you aren’t married. The good news is you can complete this process with the help of a good lawyer and information on Arizona state estate planning laws. In order to avoid leaving your significant other in a lurch if something happens to you, consider this information regarding estate planning for unmarried couples.
Durable Power of Attorney
If you are incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself, you need to designate someone who can make decisions on your behalf. If you aren’t married, this distinction automatically reverts to a parent or other close family member, rather than your significant other. The last thing you want is to create tension between your family members and your significant other during this already stressful time. In order to prevent this, you need to work with an experienced attorney who can help you draft up power of attorney papers that allow your significant other to act on your behalf.
In a situation where you suffer from a medical event that results in being unable to determine which treatments you approve of, you need a living will to name someone to make these decisions on your behalf. Just like with the power of attorney, the absence of this documentation when you aren’t married means a parent or sibling is more likely to get this honor, rather than your significant other. Even if you already have a healthcare proxy listed in your power of attorney papers, it can be important to have a living will in place as well to protect against unexpected situations that can leave those around you wondering who should have a say.
Funeral and Burial Plans
Planning a funeral isn’t a good time for anyone, even if you’re planning your own. Many people include this information in their last will and testament, but in many cases, this may not be dealt with until after your funeral, which means you need to set forth any funeral plans another way as well. Writing down this information in a formal letter can be the ideal solution. This letter should indicate whether you have purchased any preplanning services and how much money should be allotted for the funeral, along with where that money should come from.
Last Will and Testament
When it comes to your last will and testament, the good news is you can name whoever you want as beneficiary to your assets and properties. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make sure your significant other gets what you want if something happens to you. You can even name your partner as the individual who executes your estate. Be sure to address guardianship of any minor children, especially if you don’t share the children with your significant other.
What Happens If There Is No Will
If there is no will and you pass away, most of your assets and possessions will go into probate court for the judge to decide. For the most part, these assets will be divided among your biological children, your parents, your siblings, your grandparents and your extended family, in that order. This leaves your significant other with nothing, unless your family members are kind enough to pass on what is given to them. Therefore, it’s best to work with an experienced attorney to make sure your partner gets what is deserved when you’re gone. However, if you do break up, don’t forget it all needs to be changed as soon as possible.