Why Is Estate Planning Important for Unmarried Couples in California

Estate planning is especially important for couples that are not married in the state of California because unless an unmarried couple has certain documents in place, the surviving spouse typically will have no inheritance rights upon the other spouse’s death.  If one spouse becomes incapacitated, the results can also be complicated.  However, with a comprehensive estate plan, an unmarried couple can have everything in place for the future, which will give you security and peace of mind. 


  • What is the purpose of a Durable Power of Attorney?


  • A durable power of attorney gives your partner authority to handle important aspects of your life if you are unable to do so.  It’s a tool used to delegate financial affairs to a loved one or to appoint their partner as a healthcare proxy to make important life-or-death medical decisions. 


  • What are some of the ways a Durable Power of Attorney can be used?


  • A Power of Attorney lets you authorize someone to handle a specific task such as making bank deposits, trading stocks, paying your bills, buying or selling property, hiring people to take care of you, filing your tax returns, arranging the distribution of retirement benefits, or signing contract.  Your agent can do almost anything the Power of Attorney permits.  


  • What is a letter of instruction?
  • A letter of instruction is not legally required, but it can be a useful tool to assist your significant other in obtaining and distributing your assets upon your passing. 


  •  How can a letter of instruction be helpful? 
  • A letter of instruction can be helpful to communicate important information such as: accounts, passwords, location of important documents or keys, contact information of beneficiaries, specific funeral arrangements, etc.  


  •  What should unmarried couples consider in estate planning? 
  • Unmarried couples can set up an estate plan to protect each other from the unintended consequences of incapacity or death.  
  • At the Law Office of David Knecht, at 707-451-4502, we have extensive experience in estate planning in California.  We can customize a plan for you and your loved ones.