Florida couples who choose not to marry – or who are prohibited from doing so – may worry about the future of their estate because of their non-traditional circumstances. These couples may fear that their will and other estate planning documents will not automatically include their significant other. Experts in the field say there are some extra steps you can take as an unmarried couple to make sure that your property is properly distributed after you pass.

To make sure that your life partner is cared for after your death, consider enlisting the services of a professional attorney. Lawyers can help you create an airtight estate plan, allowing you to distribute your assets accurately and without error. You can enter your meeting with an attorney with the forms you will need already in tow, which could save you some money when drafting an estate plan. The most important document you will review during your appointment: your last will and testament.

In some cases, there is reason to believe that your will could be contested by hostile or angry family members. Most wills require disposition in county probate court. Instead of including all of your assets in your will, then, you might consider creating a third-party trust that would allow for the direct transfer of assets. You can then bypass any potential family problems through a few simple legal maneuvers.

In addition, you and your partner can create joint accounts and endeavors that will help your assets stay out of probate altogether. Your partner could be listed as the sole beneficiary on your retirement accounts, for example.

The key to successful estate planning in uncertain circumstances is simply to think ahead. Preparing critical documents with the help of a qualified attorney can help remove the guesswork for your beneficiaries. This can also help nip any potential family problems in the bud, assuming that your relatives attempt to contest your will. Clients can learn more about their specific options by consulting a probate attorney for more information.

Luis E. Barreto