Can Unmarried Couples Create Estate Plans?

When couples get married, they are inherently awarded certain marital benefits. Married couples have a right to hospital visits, social security benefits, joint tax filing, inheritances, immigration status, and more. However, if you are in a relationship with a life partner, yet you do not wish to get married, you do not automatically gain access to these benefits. This is where creating a comprehensive estate plan can help. Those who do not automatically have these rights and benefits incorporated into their relationship can in fact act to achieve a significant portion of these benefits through creating an estate plan. If you think you and your life partner would be interested in creating an estate plan together, please read on to learn more about what you can do and how our firm can help.

What does an Attorney-in-fact do?

A Durable Power of Attorney is something all unmarried couples should establish. A Durable Power of Attorney gives your partner the authority to make important life decisions for you, should you ever become incapacitated and are no longer capable of making those decisions for yourself.

Durable Powers of Attorney will allow your partner to manage both your finances, health care, and more. If you are sick in the hospital, you most likely prefer your significant other to make key healthcare-related decisions for you, as he or she, of course, is looking out for your best interest. Though gloomy, you may also establish an Advanced Healthcare Directive in your estate plan, which essentially allows your spouse to make life-or-death medical decisions for you, relating to matters of life-sustaining treatment.

Should I create a digital estate plan?

You and your partner should absolutely create a digital estate plan. Your digital footprint may be larger than you think, so you must have it accounted for. For example, you most likely own laptops, iPads, have online accounts, data packages, or even valuable intellectual property. All these assets must be accounted for in your estate plan.

What does a letter of instruction do?

A letter of instruction can help unmarried couples instruct their partners how they want things carried out after their passing. For example, a letter of instruction can tell your partner where you keep certain assets, whether any bills need to be paid, information about your online accounts, and any other aspect of your estate that you believe your partner should know upon your passing. To draft a comprehensive estate plan with your partner, reach out to our firm. We are happy to help.

Contact our experienced Maryland firm

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.