Ryan C. Young | Attorney
Distribution to a Partner, Friend or Specific Family Member
If you are single or in a relationship not bound by marriage, you can still dictate the distribution of your estate, but you must set up your estate properly. Depending on how you set up your estate, you can have your estate distributed to the people you wish, including a partner in life, a friend or a specific family member. You can even give part of — or all — of your estate to charity if you set up your estate properly. Your attorney will explain which documents are required to ensure your wishes are carried out. These documents include a will, living trusts and powers of attorney.
Planning for Incapacitaty
One thing many people do not think about is incapacity. Unfortunately, this is something that can happen in an instant and cause those close to you significant grief. If you become incapacitated, you will need someone to administer your financials in the way it most benefits you. Remember, if you are not married, your partner or close friend may be blocked from assisting you in this way if you haven’t planned properly. This can particularly create problems where extended family do not view your relationship with this person seriously. You might want your unmarried partner or significant other communicating with your bank, Social Security, various benefits, etc. This is something that must be addressed in advance through the formation of a power of attorney.
When setting up your estate, be sure to ask your attorney to help you create an estate package dictating who should be in charge of your affairs if you cannot make decisions yourself. This includes appointing someone to make health care decisions for you through the appointment of an agent to make medical decisions.
Minimizing Conflict Among Family Members, Friends and Extended Family Members
Unfortunately, in some families, no matter what you decide, you are going to hurt someone’s feelings, especially if you want to leave everything to a partner, not a family member. You may want your partner to share in the estate with your children, or you may want to give your partner everything. Using an attorney to ensure that living trusts and wills spell this out won’t minimize conflict, but it will ensure that your estate is distributed in the manner you wish.
If you are single or in a relationship not bound by marriage, be sure to see an attorney to set up your estate. If you die intestate, your partner in life will not receive a dime under Virginia’s laws — your family gets everything. Furthermore, creating an estate with living trusts and other documents could help your family avoid the expense of probating your will.
Law Office of Ryan C. Young, PLLC | Richmond, Virginia | Estate Planning