Estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of whether you are married or not. However, unmarried couples face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. Unlike married couples, unmarried couples do not have the same legal rights and protections. Therefore, it is essential for unmarried couples to have an estate plan in place to ensure that their wishes are carried out in the event of their incapacitation or death. In this blog post, we will discuss estate planning for unmarried couples in Oklahoma.
Create a Will
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for your assets and property after your death. It is essential for unmarried couples to have a will in place to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes. Without a will, Oklahoma’s intestacy laws will dictate how your assets are distributed, which may not align with your wishes. If you die without a will and have no children, your assets will go to your parents, siblings, or other relatives, rather than your partner. Therefore, it is essential to create a will to ensure that your partner is provided for after your death.
Consider a Trust
A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person, known as the trustee, manages property for the benefit of another person, known as the beneficiary. A trust can be useful for unmarried couples who want to ensure that their assets are protected and distributed according to their wishes. A trust can provide several benefits, including avoiding probate, protecting assets from creditors, and ensuring that assets are distributed to the intended beneficiaries.
In Oklahoma, you can designate beneficiaries for certain assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts. By designating a beneficiary, you can ensure that these assets are distributed to your partner after your death. It is essential to review your beneficiary designations regularly and update them as necessary to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Create Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions. Unmarried couples should consider creating powers of attorney for healthcare and finances to ensure that their partner can make decisions on their behalf if necessary.
Seek Legal Advice
Estate planning can be complex, and it is essential to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you create an estate plan that meets your specific needs and ensures that your wishes are carried out.
Be Mindful of Joint Ownership
Unmarried couples may choose to own property jointly, such as a home or a bank account. However, it is important to be aware of the legal implications of joint ownership. Joint ownership means that both parties have equal ownership and control over the property. If one partner passes away, the surviving partner automatically inherits the property, regardless of what is stated in a will. It is important to consider the implications of joint ownership when creating an estate plan.
Plan for Unmarried Partner’s Inheritance
In Oklahoma, if a person dies without a will and has no spouse or children, their assets will go to their parents, siblings, or other relatives. This means that an unmarried partner will not inherit anything if their partner dies without a will. It is important for unmarried couples to plan for their partner’s inheritance by creating a will and designating their partner as a beneficiary of their assets.
Review and Update Estate Plan Regularly
Estate planning is not a one-time event. It is important to review and update your estate plan regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. Life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, or a change in financial circumstances can impact your estate plan. It is important to review and update your estate plan after any significant life event.
Estate planning for unmarried couples in Oklahoma is crucial to ensure that their wishes are carried out and their partner is provided for in the event of their incapacitation or death. Creating a will, or trust, designating beneficiaries, creating powers of attorney, seeking legal advice, being mindful of joint ownership, planning for the partner’s inheritance, and regularly reviewing and updating the estate plan are all important steps to take in estate planning. By taking these steps, unmarried couples can have peace of mind knowing that their wishes will be carried out and their partner will be taken care of.
Murray Law Firm can help unmarried couples in Oklahoma create an estate plan that meets their unique needs and circumstances. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can provide guidance and legal advice to help unmarried couples protect their assets and ensure that their wishes are carried out.
Here are some ways that Murray Law Firm can help with estate planning for unmarried couples in Oklahoma cases:
- Creating a Will or Trust: Our attorneys can assist in drafting a will or trust that ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. We can provide guidance on choosing the right type of trust and structuring it in a way that meets your specific needs.
- Designating Beneficiaries: We can help you review your beneficiary designations and ensure that your assets are distributed to your partner after your death.
- Creating Powers of Attorney: Our attorneys can help you create powers of attorney for healthcare and finances to ensure that your partner can make decisions on your behalf if necessary.
- Joint Ownership: We can provide guidance on joint ownership of property and help you understand the legal implications of joint ownership.
- Inheritance Planning: Our attorneys can help you plan for your partner’s inheritance by creating a will and designating your partner as a beneficiary of your assets.
- Regular Review and Update: We can help you regularly review and update your estate plan to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances.
At Murray Law Firm, we understand the unique challenges that unmarried couples face when it comes to estate planning. Our goal is to provide personalized legal advice and guidance that meets the specific needs of our clients. If you are an unmarried couple in Oklahoma looking to create an estate plan, contact Murray Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.