Estate Planning for Bachelors and Bachelorettes and People Living Together

Being unmarried doesn’t mean you’re alone, but it does emphasize the need for a solid plan. Estate planning is often associated with married couples, but it’s equally crucial for individuals flying solo. In fact, for singles, having a well-coordinated estate plan is often even more critical. Default laws that govern estates may not work seamlessly for those without a spouse, potentially leaving an unmarried partner unprotected. Establishing a comprehensive and carefully drafted estate plan ensures that your loved ones are safeguarded and provided for after your passing.

Adapting Estate Planning to Life Changes

Understanding that your estate plan isn’t set in stone is vital. Life’s inevitable changes, like marriage, having kids, or purchasing your first home, may necessitate adjustments to your estate plan. While life keeps evolving, taking the proactive approach to estate planning early on is the wisest course of action.

Intestacy and Unmarried Individuals

Dying without a will, known as dying intestate, means your possessions are distributed based on your state’s default laws. Unlike married individuals, unmarried people face different rules. Typically, state laws dictate that a single person’s assets go to their closest relatives, such as children, parents, and siblings. Unfortunately, provisions for long-term partners are often absent. In the absence of surviving close relatives, the assets may end up in the hands of the state. To prevent the state from deciding the fate of your assets, it’s crucial to have a carefully crafted estate plan in place.

Strategic Ownership for Unmarried Individuals

As more couples choose not to marry or individuals opt to remain single, estate planning becomes pivotal. Tax and financial benefits often favor married couples, making it essential for singles to be cautious about how they own assets.

The way assets are titled and beneficiary designations are prepared significantly impacts how they’re distributed after your passing. Common ownership methods include tenants in common (TIC) and joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). For unmarried couples, TIC might not be ideal, as it could lead to the surviving partner sharing ownership with the deceased’s next of kin. JTWROS offers a more seamless transfer to the surviving owner. Various planning strategies, encompassing tax benefits, retirement plans, wills, trusts, and healthcare powers of attorney, can be beneficial for unmarried individuals when incorporated into a carefully crafted estate plan.

Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney

If you haven’t established an estate plan yet, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Regardless of your marital status, these professionals can help you create a comprehensive financial plan tailored to your unique situation, ensuring the protection of those you care about most. Reach out to Charleston Estate Planning Law Firm today. 

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Charleston Estate Planning Law Firm

At the Charleston Estate Planning Law Firm, we believe that estate planning is all about protecting your family and loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death.

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