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Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples | Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples | Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer

While married couples are most obviously in need of the services of an estate planning lawyer in Atlanta, unmarried couples may actually need it more. It’s a pretty well known fact that when a married spouse passes away, the other will likely inherit a considerable portion of the estate, simply by virtue of the legal marriage.

But, what about folks who are cohabitating but not legally married? The situation for them can become much more dire should one partner pass away without a solid estate plan in place. For example, even if the couple lives together in a home, if one partner dies, the other may have no legal right to the property—even if he or she helped pay for it!  It is unfortunate, but estate planning lawyers in Atlanta have seen far too many situations where adult children have kicked their deceased parents’ partner out of a home so it could be sold for the proceeds.

In order to avoid this kind of drama, an Atlanta estate planning lawyer may recommend that assets be titled in both partner’s names, with both listed as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. There are potential tax implications to taking this step, so check with your attorney to weigh your options. It is also possible for the couple to set up a situation where a surviving partner is allowed to continue to reside in a home until his or her death, having the property then pass on to the original parter’s children.

As an illustration, pretend that Joe was married to Louise, and they had three kids together. Louise passed away, and sometime later, Joe fell in love and moved in with Kelly. Unfortunately, Joe’s now-adult children don’t approve of Joe’s relationship with Kelly.  If the couple doesn’t create a legally-binding plan with an estate planning lawyer, Joe’s kids could kick Kelly out of the house upon Joe’s death.

We’ll take this a step further and say that even though they’re not supportive of Joe’s choice, he still loves his children and wants to make sure they eventually inherit the house to pay for their children’s education or whatever. But, he also wants to make sure that they cannot remove Kelly from the house out of spite or greed. Joe and Kelly could put together a plan of action with their Atlanta estate planning lawyer to stipulate that Kelly has the right to live in the house until death, and then it would become the property of Joe’s children.

This is just one scenario in which an unmarried couple would want to consider getting legal advice. Meeting with an Atlanta estate planning lawyer is a good way to find out if there are concerns that you aren’t even aware you should have based on the fact that you and your partner are not legally married.

Atlanta Estate Planning Lawyer’s Special Advice for Women

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A good Atlanta estate planning attorney is going to help you take a lot of things into consideration when putting together your plan.  Various factors influence your estate planning after all:  finances, children, age…But what about your gender?  Is estate planning for women different from that for men?

Actually, there are some important things to keep in mind.

A Spouse’s Will Is Not Enough

Atlanta estate planning attorneys see again and again where a married couple believes that only one of them—usually a husband—needs to have a will.  This can cause a lot of problems in the long run, however.

  • Your family may not know your wishes, even if you think they do.
  • In times of grief, people aren’t always at their best and could resort to fighting over the estate.
  • If your spouse remarries, the new wife (and her children) could legally inherit your things.

These are just some of the scenarios estate planning attorneys see playing out when one partner is relying on the other’s will.

Women Need Powers of Attorney

Various types of powers of attorney are an important part of an estate plan, and this can be especially true for women.  The average woman’s lifespan is longer than a man’s, which means that she may be on her own near the end of her life.  With no spouse to make medical and financial decisions should she become incapacitated, it’s even more important to make sure appropriate appointees have been legally declared.

Updates are Needed When Marriage Status Changes

When one spouse has passed away, it is always a good idea to review the surviving spouse’s estate plan.  There are likely some changes that need to be made based on changes in income and other living circumstances.  A knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Atlanta will be able to help redefine the goals you and your spouse set in order to ensure you stay on track.

It’s also very important to meet with an estate planning lawyer after a divorce.  The details of the divorce can strongly impact your financial future, and the attorney will work to make sure you know and have access to what is rightfully yours.  Additionally, if you already have a will, you will want to change it to avoid the possibility of your ex being entitled to your estate or assets.

A Trust May Be a Good Choice

A mother wants to provide for her child in every way possible, and while trusts are something that are often associated with rich people, they are a great tool for just about anyone with heirs.  Talk with an estate planning attorney about why and how to go about creating a trust to help fund your children or grandchildren’s future should you not be around to help them.

There are plenty of other considerations that apply specifically to estate planning for women, and the best way to get all the information you need is to get together with a qualified, experienced attorney in Atlanta.  To schedule an appointment for a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session at one of our metro Atlanta offices, we invite you to call 770-425-6060 to get started.


 If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

A Priceless Valentine’s Gift In Times of Uncertainty

Marietta GA Estate Planning Lawyer suggests the Ultimate Gift of Love for your family : an up-to-date estate plan!

Marietta GA Estate Planning Lawyer suggests the Ultimate Gift of Love for your family : an up-to-date estate plan!

 

With budgets tight and uncertainty in the air, this Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to give your loved one a priceless gift that never grows old — financial security.

Sure, you can’t stuff it in a box or wrap it with a pretty bow, but taking the time to get your financial and legal affairs in order this month is the ultimate way to show your loved ones just how much you care now, and for the future.

Think about what would happen if you were disabled, incapacitated or passed away suddenly this year. That expensive night out you spent with your “special someone” won’t do much to ensure he or she will continue to thrive in your absence. A less exciting, but meaningful gift of life insurance, for example, would have been a better expression of your love during hard times.

And, when is the last time you updated your will or trust? Are you certain that your wishes would be honored and your loved ones would be taken care of exactly as you want in an emergency? This includes minor children who, without legal guardians named for them by mom and dad, will be at the mercy of the courts.

Legal and financial planning is the ultimate way to demonstrate your love for your family where it counts the most. Make a commitment to not put it off any longer and use this Valentine’s Day to give your loved ones the long-term financial security and peace of mind they deserve.

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Steve Worrall is the Family Estate Planning Lawyer for Georgia Estate Plan: Worrall Law LLC in Marietta and Atlanta. If you’d like to give your loved ones and yourself the gift of peace of mind, please call Steve at 770-425-6060 or email him at steve@georgiaestateplan.com.

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