Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples, Part I: Protect Your Surviving Partner After Death

A Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney Explains Why Estate Planning is Crucial for Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples must take steps to protect each other in the event of a death. This means estate planning!

It is very important for unmarried couples to have an estate plan in place. This is because, unlike married couples, no “default” plan will take effect after one of you dies. Your unmarried partner will be left out in the cold after your death unless you sign a will. I have seen this happen far too many times, so you must take action now.

You and your partner need to execute an estate plan now so your partner gets your assets. The absence of a plan may lead to conflict between your partner and your other family members. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps you need to take to protect each other if one dies. Later posts will explain how to protect each other if one of you is incapacitated.

Make Plans for the Family Home

The first step is to make sure that your partner will be able to stay in the family home. You can do this by making sure that the title of the home is in both of your names. This ensures your partner may remain in the family home if something happens to one of you. If you are not married, your partner does not have any legal claim to the property after you die. Make sure to take this step as soon as possible, and if necessary, file a deed transferring ownership of the home to your partner when you die.

Execute a Will

The second step is to create a will. This document will outline your wishes for the distribution of your assets in the event of your death. Get a will in place now or the state will determine how your assets are distributed. And I doubt their plan aligns with your wishes.

Do not leave your surviving partner out in the cold OR in an adversarial position with your other family members.

Take the above steps now to protect each other after one of you dies. If you have any questions about estate planning for unmarried couples, please contact our office. We are happy to help you through this process.