Long Island estate planning attorneys can help everyone to make an estate plan that is appropriate for their family situation and their goals for their legacy. Different tools are needed to effectively make an estate plan that applies in different kinds of family situations. For example, if you are in a committed relationship with a partner but are not married, you will need to take legal steps to protect your partner in case you get sick, as well as to protect your partner after you pass away.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help. Our firm offers comprehensive legal guidance throughout the estate planning process. We can explain to you what specific issues could arise if one partner gets sick or after the death of either partner, and we can guide you through the effective use of legal tools to take advantage of full protections under the law.
Give us a call today to find out more about the advice that our Long Island estate planning attorneys can offer to unmarried couples to help them protect their future.
Estate Planning Challenges for Unmarried Couples
Unmarried couples face legal challenges because they do not have a relationship that is officially recognized in the eyes of the law. This can impact the rights of both partners.
If you get sick and are not married to your partner, your partner may not have automatic visitation rights as a spouse would. If you cannot communicate your own preferences for medical care, your partner will not be the person that doctors turn to, or that the court appoints, to make decisions on your behalf.
Instead, this task will usually fall to the closet blood relative that you have, leaving your partner without the legal right to insist that doctors respect what your partner believes your care preferences would be. Your partner will also not have the authority to manage your personal assets or make other decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
After you pass away, your partner also will not be on the list of people who automatically inherit your property under intestacy law. If your partner does inherit because you have a last will and testament or other estate plan in place that leaves your property to you partner, the transfer of assets will trigger estate tax on larger estates, both on the state and federal level. While spouses can generally pass property to each other tax free after death, this is not true of unmarried couples who leave their assets to each other.
How Long Island Estate Planning Attorneys Help Unmarried Couples Overcome Challenges
There are ways that you can overcome the different challenges that are presented by being in a committed relationship with someone who you are not married to. While getting legally married can make some aspects of the estate planning process easier, it could also complicate matters in other circumstances, such as when you want to leave the bulk of your assets to a child from outside of the marital relationship when you pass away. You don’t need to get married to make an estate plan that provides for your partner, but you do need to work with an experienced attorney to make a plan appropriate for your family situation.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can assist you in making effective use of legal tools that address the issues that arise for unmarried couples. For example, you can use a power of attorney to name your partner as your healthcare proxy who will make decisions on your behalf about medical care if something happens to you and you cannot communicate your preferences for care. You can also use a general power of attorney to give your partner control over assets and other decisions that must be made if you become incapacitated.
A last will and testament, a living trust, joint ownership, pay-on-death accounts and a variety of other estate planning tools can also be used to ensure that assets transfer to your partner upon your death. You can also work with an experienced attorney to find ways to reduce estate taxes.
Getting Help from Long Island Estate Planning Attorneys
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC will help you to make plans to protect your partner no matter what the future brings, even if you are not married. To learn more about how Long Island estate planning attorneys can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to get personalized advice.