Texas Christian University

Celebrate Your Commitment With a Well-Crafted Estate Plan

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Protect Your Family's Future Married or Unmarried, You Need a Plan Regardless of your marital status, do not rely on the state in which you reside to do your estate planning for you. Your wishes may not be carried out as you want. Proper estate and retirement planning helps you and your spouse or partner plan for your later years. An estate plan that includes instructions for distributing your possessions and your choices regarding medical care protects your family and ensures that your wishes are upheld. Here are some important planning documents that you and your spouse or partner should create with the assistance of your estate planning attorney: 1] A will. Although no one likes to think about what happens after you die, your legacy will not be created on its own. Using your will, you can express your values, fulfill your dreams and shape the epilogue to your life story. A well-planned will also can ensure that family, friends and beloved charities are taken care of. 2] A health care directive. This document spells out your wishes about the type of medical treatment you want — or don't want — if you become unable to communicate your decisions. It also allows you to name someone to make health care decisions for you. A health care directive is particularly important for unmarried partners, but married couples should also have one because it honors your individual wishes and can help you and your spouse avoid conflict with other family members. 3] A financial durable power of attorney. When you sign this document, you authorize another person to manage your finances. This person, called your agent or attorney-in-fact, has the authority to make decisions regarding your finances. You can create a durable power of attorney that is effective immediately or when you are unable to handle your financial affairs. People generally give their agents broad powers and allow them to handle all their financial matters. You can give your agent as much or as little control over your finances as you want. Here are a few common situations that you may want your agent to handle: • Use your assets to pay you and your family's everyday expenses Married couples benefit from having an estate plan that clearly spells out each spouse's medical and financial wishes. Good planning is the key to long-term peace of mind for all couples, including unmarried partners.

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