Estate Planning Tips For Unmarried Couples In Tampa: Part 1
Marriage is no longer a social requirement for couples wishing to cohabitate and remain monogamous, although common law marriage is not recognized in the state of Florida. In fact, in 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau determined that the rate of marriage declined to 49 percent. The stigma for unmarried couples has all but vanished, but offering your partner the same level of asset, health and estate planning protection can be murky if you are unmarried. How can unmarried couples adequately prepare for the future without jumping the broom?
Name a Healthcare Surrogate Explicitly
In a health emergency, only next of kin can be present with the patient. In addition, only next of kin (meaning a parent, adult child or married spouse) can make affirmative health decisions and communicate with providers in the event their loved one is mentally incapacitated or in a coma. That is, unless, the patient explicitly chose a healthcare surrogate in writing prior to a hospital admission. When you designate a healthcare surrogate in your life’s events documents, you give your partner the power to assist you in a medical emergency and advocate for your health.
Develop a Strong Asset Protection Plan
If you intend to deed or gift your possessions and assets to your partner after your death, you need to express your wishes in writing. Unmarried partners are not automatically given the same rights over property as a surviving spouse. Because of this, it is often recommended that unmarried couples seek a durable power of attorney to make financial decisions for the other partner in the event of their incapacitation.
In addition, each partner should draft a will listing all assets and liabilities and indicating what they wish to give to their partner. Without a will, an unmarried partner would be passed over in probate administration proceedings and not deemed an “interested person” for the purposes of distributing the decedent’s property. In the next installment of our blog, we will discuss additional financial and estate planning strategies for unmarried couples with children.
Contact the Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group
Estate planning and asset protection strategies are fluid, and no two plans look the same. Even if you have been putting it off for a while, it is never too late to get started. Our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group can identify tailored strategies to offer the utmost protection and security for you and your family, and we serve clients throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Call today to schedule a consultation.