VanNess & VanNess, P.A.
352-436-4333

Why unmarried partners might need estate plans

There are a number of reasons that unmarried couples living together in Florida might want to create an estate plan. Without the proper documents in place, if one person is injured or ill and becomes incapacitated, the other partner is not legally entitled to make medical decisions. If one person dies, the other partner may not be entitled to any of the couple's shared possessions because if there is no estate plan, the state distributes assets to the next of kin.

Partners can discuss their preferences about issues such as end-of-life care and organ donation and then draw up health care powers of attorney that permit them to make these decisions for one another. If one person owns a home, it may be necessary to add the other person to the title or otherwise make arrangements for the other person to inherit the home. The same is true of other assets.

This process can begin with a conversation between the partners. While they may want to involve an attorney at a later date, these initial conversations can begin to give them an idea of the shape an estate plan might take. If the couple is comfortable with it, the next step may be to talk with family members so they feel included in plans.

Working with an attorney to create an estate plan may have a number of advantages. An attorney might help ensure that documentation is prepared correctly. Furthermore, an attorney may be able to explain a number of options of which the couple may be unaware. For example, there may be situations in which trusts are useful such as if the couple is concerned about taxes or if either wishes to leave an inheritance to loved ones who may not be able to manage money responsibly.

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