Planning for the future with your significant other shows commitment and longevity of the relationship. As someone so aptly said of love and marriage, love may be blind, but marriage, on the other hand, is a real eye opener. This is why marriage is not for everyone, but love is.
Partners in a committed relationship have many other ways of showing their commitment to each other, including estate planning. This option is mandatory if you have a life partner but are not interested in pursuing marriage.
Estate planning allows the two of you to have a say and even implement each other's end of life care medically and financially and inherit from each other. There are several options available to couples with regard to the estate planning and an estate planning attorney will advise you on each course of action.
What Estate Planning Options to Expect
Writing a will eliminates any assumptions or speculations. It is a very straightforward document that clearly outlines the final thoughts and preferences of the deceased. If you do not write one, the court is at liberty to determine the distribution of your assets based on your state laws.
If there are children involved ensure that the will chooses a guardian for them so that the court is not compelled to choose one that you may not approve of.
You can also choose to have a living will or durable power of attorney. This gives your partner authority over your assets, finances and medical decision while you are still alive but incapacitated.
By naming each other as the designated beneficiaries of your bank accounts and other financial oriented accounts including retirement and investment accounts and even life insurance, you ensure that the partner left behind is able to access the your funds with no difficulty.
To do this, ask your bank for a beneficiary designation and list your partner as the inheritor of the funds. It is imperative to ensure that you designate your beneficiary because such accounts do not automatically pass on to your will.
Own Assets jointly
The assets need to be sizeable ones like property, businesses or cars. This option gives you "right to survivorship" to fall back on in case one partner dies. It allows you to automatically own the asset in its entirety.
For this to apply you have both co-signed on the official title of the asset like the title deed or car ownership certificate. You can also choose to place your assets in a trust and designate your partner as the successor trustee.
Estate planning is a difficult discussion that comes with difficult choices. But at the heart of it is securing the future of your loved ones and partner. This makes it a discussion that must be had. Don't be afraid of calling in an accountant firm, like Bliss & Skeen CPAs, who can walk you through your various options and their repercussions for your estate.