When planning for your death, Estate Planning can often be put to the side in favor of other forms of planning, such as your Will, or it can be forgotten about completely. Estate Planning in an essence is planning for who will be in control of your assets when you pass away.
When thinking about Estate Planning, people tend to think only about their financial assets. However, your assets include much more than this. They can include things like jewelry, land, clothing, investments, and more. Estate Planning is important because it gives you the chance to decide who you want to be responsible for each of your many assets after you are deceased.
Making sure to take care of all of your Estate Planning before your death also takes unnecessary stress off of your loved ones. When you die, your loved ones will want to be able to focus on their grief without having the added stress and responsibility of figuring out what to do with all of your assets.
Estate Planning is something that everyone should be taking care of, including civil union couples. Now that you and your partner have taken the step to be civilly united, you have legal protection at the state level. As you are now recognized as a couple by the state, you will want to consider how this affects your Estate Planning together. Trust & Will has put together a list of tips for civil union couples as they begin to think about their joint Estate Planning.
Estate Planning can be confusing. That is why Trust & Will has created this article to go more in depth on tips for civil union couples when you are discussing your Estate Planning together as a couple.
Tips of Civil Union Couples
Estate Planning often feels like something that can be pushed off. With everything you have to deal with on a daily basis, from working, to socializing, to even taking care of children, you may feel like you have no room in your schedule to sit down and worry about your Estate Planning. Unfortunately, it is not something that we should leave to a later date, as you never know what could happen to you or your spouse.
1. Update your Will and Trust
It is possible that before your civil union, you or your partner already had created individual Wills and Trusts. However, now that you have a civil union recognized by the state, you will want to go over each of your Trusts and Wills and discuss how you may want to change them.
It is important to discuss your individual Trusts and Wills to see how you may want to update them now that you are a couple because you both may determine that you want certain assets to go to your partner when you die now that you are civilly united. This could include things like finances, land, investments, etc. If you do not update your Will, your partner may be at risk of losing some of the assets of yours that they may have been using. Furthermore, depending on the state you reside in, you may even decide to get a Joint Will.
2. Change your Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives
Now that you and your partner are in a civil union, it will be important to discuss and update your Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives. Your Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone the right to handle your finances once you are deceased. This will be important to discuss with your partner and update as you may now want to make each other the person responsible for your finances once you die.
The other main document to consider is your Healthcare Directives, also known as your Living Will. This is a document that states who will be in charge of making decisions for you on your behalf in the event that you cannot do it yourself, such as when you are in a coma. This can also be an important document to update once you and your partner enter into a civil union because you may decide that you want each other to be the person that makes decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself.
3. Discuss individual assets
When you enter into a civil union with your partner, you are most likely coming with assets already. These assets could include things like land, investments, cars, houses, etc. It will be important to discuss these assets with your partner now that you are legally recognized as a couple by the state.
You will want to go over each of your assets because the two of you may decide that there are some assets that you want to make joint assets. For example, one of you may have been the sole owner of the house and land you both now reside in. Together you may decide that you want to make this a joint asset that you both have ownership and rights over now that you are in a civil union. This is just one example of the many assets you will want to discuss and decide if you want to have joint ownership over.
It is important to go over all assets together because you may find that there are some assets you or your partner brought into your civil union that they want to keep separate and have sole ownership of even after your civil union.
Estate Planning for civil union couples can seem complicated and stressful. It can feel like a hassle to try and find time to think about your Estate Planning when you have so much else going on in your life. That is why Trust & Will is committed to making it easier to plan for your future through our online website. We offer a multitude of services to plan for your future, all through the convenience of being able to be done in your own home. Start planning today!