Unmarried? Make Sure You Understand How This Influences Inheritance Rights and Estate Planning

naperville estate planning lawyerDid you know that less than half of adults in the United States are married? Over the past few decades, marriage rates have dropped significantly. Fewer and fewer people are choosing to get married, and living with a romantic partner to whom you are not married is becoming increasingly frequent.

For many couples, waiting to say “I do” is the smart choice. Nobody should rush into a marriage unless they are truly ready to marry. That being said, unmarried couples should understand the risks involved in foregoing an official marriage relationship. Living together does not offer the same legal protections as being married. For example, according to Illinois intestacy laws, if a husband passes away without a will, his wife automatically inherits his property. However, if an unmarried man passes away without a will, his girlfriend has no legal right to his property.

Protect Yourself and Your Partner Through Proper Estate Planning

Illinois intestacy laws dictate that when a person dies without a will, his or her spouse inherits his or her estate. If the deceased person also had children, the estate is split between the spouse and the children. If the person is unmarried, his or her estate is passed down to children, grandchildren, or other family members.

Many unmarried couples have lived together for years or even decades. They share children, homes, property, bank accounts, and their everyday lives together. If you are in a committed relationship but not married, make sure you understand how to ensure your partner will have inheritance rights. The easiest way to do this is to set up a will clearly explaining how your assets should be distributed.

A will is often the foundation of an estate plan, but individuals with complex assets, a significant amount of wealth, or unique financial circumstances should consider other types of estate planning tools, such as trusts, as well.

Grant Your Partner Power of Attorney to Ensure They Can Make Financial or Medical Decisions for You

If you fell into a coma tomorrow, who would you want to make medical decisions on your behalf? Who would you want to take care of financial obligations such as paying the bills? If you are like many people, the first person that comes to mind is your romantic partner.

A power of attorney is an estate planning instrument that allows you to designate an agent who can make healthcare and/or financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. Whether you decide to make your boyfriend or girlfriend your agent, or you choose another family member or close friend, it is essential to have a power of attorney set up so that if anything happens, the correct person will be making decisions on your behalf.

Contact our Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer for Help

Younger couples often assume that they do not need to worry about estate planning until they are much older. However, nobody can predict the future, and tragedies occur every day. It is important to have a plan in place so that your wishes will be followed if anything should happen to you.

Call the experienced Naperville estate planning attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm for help setting up a will, trust, power of attorney, living will, and other estate planning instruments.  Call 630-756-1160 today to set up a private consultation.




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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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