[Un]married with Children

/ February 1, 2013

A couple in love has a baby but they haven’t tied the knot. Many times they also haven’t created an estate plan.  Unfortunately, the unwed parents in love need an estate plan more than married parents. Why, you ask? Well, if an unwed parent dies without a plan, the surviving parent doesn’t inherit any of the decease parent’s assets. The surviving parent also will not have a say in how the deceased parent’s assets are managed, even if it is for the benefit of their minor child. Making the situation even more difficult, the deceased parent’s family will likely manage, or fail to manage, the estate administration process.

So what are the essential estate planning features for a couple in this scenario? First, talk with your co-parent and plan for your departure.  Second, create a Will to name a trustee that can manage assets for the benefit of your minor children. Third, if you want your significant other to manage your assets or inherit anything from you, make sure to state those intentions in your Will.

These are just a couple of the planning “to-do’s” for couples who have children but haven’t said their “I do’s.” Keep in mind that a little planning can make an enormous difference to your surviving family (and non-family) members. For more information, read this article about why all parents should have an estate plan. Also, there is no substitute for sound legal advice.  So, if you find yourself in this situation, call an estate planning attorney.