January 28, 2018
Do Unmarried Couples Need a Will?
Our Brighton estate planning attorneys advise every person to have a will. We believe everyone needs a comprehensive estate plan, but at the very least, you need a will. Without a will, your property will be distributed according to the Michigan intestate laws. The state’s choice for who receives your property may not be the choice you would make if you executed a will. Therefore, you need to invest in an estate plan so that you can control who inherits your property.
Unmarried Couples Face Special Issues for Estate Planning
The state does not limit who you can leave your property to when you die. You can leave your property to your family members, friends, companions, or charities. However, if you are unmarried and you die without a will, your partner is not entitled to inherit your property. Michigan’s intestate laws do not recognize unmarried partners as heirs. The only way you can leave property to your unmarried partner is to have a validly executed will in place before you die or become incapacitated.
Couples who want to make sure that they provide for each other, regardless of whether they are married, should meet with an experienced Brighton estate planning attorney. For an unmarried person, having a will that is valid is very important. A family member may decide to contest the will, especially if the person inheriting the bulk of the estate is not related by blood or marriage. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney ensures that your will and other estate documents are executed in accordance with the state’s laws for estate and probate documents.
Use Your Own Attorney
To help reduce that your will can be successfully contested, it is best to use an attorney who is not affiliated with your partner. You and your partner should choose separate attorneys and refrain from participating in any way in the process. Do not choose an attorney that your partner recommends, has used in the past, or is related to in any way.
Partners should not go to the attorney’s office together or even drive each other to an appointment. It may seem extreme to take such steps; however, you must do everything you can to avoid any appearance of undue influence over each other when developing and executing an estate plan.
Also, make sure you hire an estate planning attorney. You do not want to use an online service to draft your wills. Online estate planning websites are very general. These websites try to cover every possible situation and the differences in various state laws. By being so general, these websites can overlook important requirements that leave your will subject to dispute.
Estate Planning Attorneys for Unmarried Couples
Our attorneys help individuals who want to ensure that their unmarried partner is taken care of upon their death or incapacitation. In addition to the above steps, there are other ways that you can protect your unmarried partner. Our Brighton probate attorneys will listen to your concerns and devise an estate plan that encompasses your desires while providing the most protection for your partner.
Do not allow a relative or Michigan’s intestate law to deprive your partner of the inheritance he or she deserves. The investment you make now can give you peace of mind and ensure your partner has the resources he or she needs after your death or incapacitation.
For additional information about estate planning for unmarried couples or to schedule a consultation with a Michigan estate planning attorney, contact our law firm by calling 888-390-4360 or by using the contact form on our website.