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Not Married? You are not alone-but you still need a plan.

Estate Planning for People Living Together, Bachelors, and Bachelorettes

I feel strange as I write this article. In two days (as long as I do not screw it up between now and then) I will celebrate 32nd years of marriage to my bride. But here I am discussing estate planning challenges of friends, clients, and hopefully, soon to be clients, who are not yet married, or are no longer married. Maybe it stems from a conversation over a game of dominoes this weekend with couple group of single people asking why it seemed like all I addressed were married couples. While they were not completely accurate, there was some reality to their perception. Traditional estate planning does tend to focus on the "traditional" married couple home. MEA CULPA, because I began doing estate planning to serve those of us who were traditionally under-served and under-represented with these very important estate planning services.

In fact, approximately half of America’s population over the age of 16 is unmarried.

This is because the default laws governing estates often work poorly for people without a spouse and may not adequately provide for a significant other or unmarried partner. Having a cohesive and well-drafted estate plan will ensure that you protect and provide for those you truly care about upon your death.

Evolving Estate Planning

It is important to understand your estate plan can change over time. You may eventually experience life changes like getting married, having children, or buying your first home that will necessitate changes to your estate plan. Although life is constantly changing, it is best to get in the driver’s seat early when it comes to estate planning.

If you die without a will--referred to as intestate--all of your possessions will be distributed according to the default laws of DC, Maryland, or whatever state you are a resident. While most state laws h