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Estate planning important for domestic partners

The most recent U.S. census, which includes Texas, indicates that just 26 percent of households in America are comprised of married couples with children. Unmarried couples have unique monetary needs, which means they also have unique estate planning needs. A few tips may help these individuals to create estate plans that effectively address the issues pertinent to them.

When people are married, their marriage certificates open the door to many monetary benefits that partners who are not married simply lack. This is why it is so critical that domestic partners create wills. If a person's domestic partner dies with no will, the state might distribute the deceased party's assets to his or her blood relatives rather than to the surviving partner.

In addition, federal tax law makes it possible for assets to go to a surviving spouse without resulting in taxes, and relevant estate taxes are not due until the surviving spouse dies as well. However, unmarried people cannot take advantage of this law. Still, a surviving partner may be able to reduce his or her tax liability by obtaining life insurance that can be used to pay potential state and federal estate taxes.

Estate planning can understandably be complicated whether a person is married or not. It can also seem overwhelming no matter how many or few assets a Texas residents possesses. However, both married and unmarried individuals of all income levels would benefit from developing well-thought-out estate plans with the help of proper legal guidance that can protect their assets and their wishes in the event of their deaths.

Source: carycitizen.com, "Money Matters: Financial Planning for Unmarried Domestic Partners", Briant Sikorski, Aug. 31, 2016

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