Estate Planning For Unmarried Couples

Paying Attention To The Unique Concerns Of Unmarried Clients

When two people get married, a number of legal relationships, property rights and tax advantages are created between them automatically. When two people live together outside of marriage, by choice or by operation of the laws preventing same-sex marriages, none of this happens automatically, and they must create their own legal relationships and protections.

At Spencer Law Firm LLC, based in Lancaster, our lawyers provide estate planning services to unmarried couples in Pennsylvania. We advise clients on issues such as the following:

  • Wills: If you die without a will in Pennsylvania and are not married, your assets will pass to your blood relatives, not your partner. This is why wills are essential for unmarried couples.
  • Trusts : It is often advisable for unmarried couples to use trusts to achieve their estate planning goals because trusts are less susceptible to legal challenges by other parties.
  • Beneficiary designations: Unmarried couples need to pay careful attention to the beneficiary designations on their life insurance policies and employee benefit plans.
  • Powers of attorney: Any power of attorney that you give to your partner should be carefully worded to achieve all of your goals while avoiding potential legal disputes.
  • Medical directives: If you would want your partner to make any decisions about your medical care in the event of your incapacity, it is important to create a medical directive.
  • Domestic partnership agreements: Comparable to a prenuptial agreement, a domestic partnership agreement can be used to formalize the terms of your relationship.
  • Estate and inheritance tax planning: Unmarried couples must often take special tax planning measures because they do not have access to tax benefits for married couples.

If you are involved in a same-sex relationship or a different-sex relationship outside of marriage, our attorneys can help you put together an estate plan that meets your specific needs. To schedule a consultation, please contact us at 717.207.7935 or by email.