If you are in a committed romantic partnership, whether you are married or not, estate planning for couples is important. A proper estate plan will highlight your wishes for your assets and your own healthcare decisions should something happen to you. Leaving a plan for your spouse or partner is a huge comfort for them during a time of grief, but going through the estate planning process together can be pivotal for your relationship. Here’s what to think about if you are planning for the future with your partner.
Thinking About Future Goals
It may seem like retirement is far off in the future, but aligning your goals while you are still employed can truly put you and your partner on the right track. If you and your partner have significantly different financial situations, or even a large age gap, talking about your financial goals opens up an important conversation. Consider whether you’d both be able to retire around the same time. Would you be able to maintain the lifestyle that you both want? Would one of you still work? Often people focus solely on just getting to retirement or a certain amount of assets that they forget about planning what comes after. Even if you aren’t close to retiring, still think about these scenarios and if your estate plan needs to be updated to reflect your plans and include your partner.
Managing Your Estate
There are many reasons that couples at any age or marital status need estate planning. Estate planning for couples may be even more important depending on your marital status. If you are in a committed relationship but aren’t married, it may be even more important for both you and your partner to have estate plans. If you don’t have an estate plan, your state decides who gets your money and potentially healthcare providers that you’ve never met could make life altering medical decisions for you. So without a plan to name the person that you’d want to receive your assets, or be in charge of your medical decisions, your partner could be left with no rights to anything you’d like them to have.
It’s important to also consider your family circumstances when you are planning for the future with your partner. If you are blending families or having children, this will add questions to your estate plan that need to be addressed. If you have children from a previous relationship, will they be treated equally as your new partner? Have you updated your plan so that your ex-spouse is not your beneficiary? Take a look at the whole picture so your wishes will be met when the time comes.
Your estate plan should be an outline of your wishes for your loved ones should something happen to you. As you are planning for the future with your partner, always consult with a professional in your area. There are so many nuances when it comes to estate planning, make sure you and your loved ones are protected. If you are in Illinois or Wisconsin and are looking for an estate planning attorney, please contact us. We can help you and your partner align your goals and create an estate plan that puts you both at peace.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.