In these modern times, people are redefining what it means to be a family. Getting married in a traditional sense is no longer a must-have, and many couples are choosing to either get married much later or not at all. But, in the legal world, there are a couple hoops to jump through if you and your partner decide to remain unmarried and want to make sure you have plans in place in case one of you passes away. And in California, there is no common law marriage either, so it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together, in the eyes of the law, you still are not legally bound.
However, there are legal documents to create and things you can do to make sure you’ve planned ahead for you and your family.
- Revocable Living Trust and Wills
If you have more than $150,000 in real property or assets, you can establish a Revocable Living Trust which will allow you to avoid probate after you die and choose whom you’d like to have your assets. It gives you a lot of flexibility to name who should manage your estate and assets.
If you have less than $150,000, writing a will should be sufficient to settle your estate plan.
- Power of Attorney
This allows you to name a person to manage your finances if you are incapacitated. You can also name someone to make decisions based on your health care if you are not able to through an advance care directive. Without these being designated, family can take over and appoint someone else to make these decisions.
At its worst, hospitals may not allow you to visit each other without these documents.
- Naming Beneficiaries
You may want to name each other as beneficiaries over any insurance policies, retirement accounts, and pensions should anything happen to either of you. Some of these accounts may have different rules about naming non-family members as beneficiaries, so check with your attorney first.
- Property Titles
If one partner is living in a house that the other partner owns, and they die, it’s possible for their family to kick the other partner out. You’ll want to properly title the property, whether that be in both your names, or through creating a will or revocable living trust and naming the other person.
Married or unmarried, estate planning is absolutely essential if you are in a serious relationship. So much can go wrong and without the proper documents, it can be even worse. Plan for your and each other’s futures and visit a local and experienced estate planning attorney Sacramento CA trusts today.
Contact Yee Law Group if you’d like to begin your estate planning process, either by filling out a quick form, or calling our office at 916-927-9001 for a free consultation.