Wills and trust lawyers in Marietta Georgia work with unmarried couples to help protect their assets and their partners’ interests should one of them pass away. The way that federal and state laws are set up, it is customary for a spouse to receive assets of an estate through the Cobb County probate process. Unfortunately, things are far less cut-and-dry when it comes to settling the estate of an unmarried partner.
For example, when one spouse dies, the home they share will typically pass to the surviving spouse. In the case where an unmarried partner dies, there is no guarantee that the survivor will have this privilege. Instead, the home could be awarded to the deceased’s children, parents, or siblings, even if the surviving partner has lived there for years.
One method that trust lawyers in Marietta GA recommend is to title your assets in both partners’ names. In the case of a home, it may make sense to title the home in both partners’ names with both listed as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Of course, this means that both partners have legal ownership rights during their lifetimes, as well.
It is definitely a good idea to work with a Marietta attorney to understand all the implications of titling assets in both partners’ names. In addition to the ownership rights, there are other outcomes that need to be considered. There could be concerns over whether gift taxes will come into play.
Leaving the Assets to Someone Else
In many cases, the client may wish to leave the assets to a third party but still allow the surviving partner to benefit from them until he or she also passes away. In cases like this, the deceased partner may wish for the survivor to be able to live in the home they shared but then have it pass to the first partner’s children when the second dies.
In these situations, a might recommend creating a life estate. The surviving partner can remain in the home, but other beneficiaries will be named to receive the property later. There are various kinds of trusts that can be used for this purpose, and your attorney will help to outline the pros and cons of using them.
Ready to get started creating a plan that ensures the protection of you and your life partner should the unthinkable happen? Call our Marietta wills, trusts and estate planning law firm at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session with the mention of this article ($750 value).